Updated: Mar 5, 2021
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When it comes to taking care of yourself, you want to stay well, and independent for as long as possible. When it comes to taking care of someone you care about - how they are doing simply never leaves your mind.
Technology has given us options that previous generations never had, and although it’s preferable to be with each other in person, that’s not always possible. When it’s not possible to be together and someone is vulnerable, two things happen. Either someone they care about cares for them, or full time care options are sought because of the reluctant anticipation that something might happen.
Millions of our parents and those living with health related challenges don’t want to go into care before their time. They want to be independent and continue living at home for as long as they can.
This article is for people living alone or independently at home. Equally, it’s for those who have family or loved ones that they are away from, wondering what their options are.
In this article, we address: 10 Use Cases for How Cameras Can Help 5 Top Picks for Cameras Privacy Getting Outcomes
10 Use Cases for How Camera’s Can Help
1. Safety. Knowing If There’s Movement Outside You Didn’t Expect
Scenario: Sometimes you’ll hear noises outside and wonder what’s happening. The outdoor security cameras bring peace-of-mind to you and your family, knowing any suspicious movements will be caught on camera. Best of all, you’ll both get a text message alert so can check the video recording to see if something’s up.
Special features: wireless cameras, night vision, and may be paired with a siren or floodlight.
2. Visitors. Managing Carers and Visitors to Your Home
Scenario: Living independently can mean getting help at home, whether it’s cleaners, tradespeople, carers, food or parcel delivery services providing assistance. Outdoor cameras and video doorbells provide access for you or a family member to see the visitor clearly, and talk to them without the need of opening the door. It also brings peace of mind to know who has visited as well as adding comfort of knowing who is there when opening the door.
Special features: Doorbell cameras, outdoor cameras and two way talk. These may be combined with smart door locks for gates that can be opened remotely, as an example - allowing the delivery person to drop a parcel inside the gate.
3. Wandering. Notified of Unintended Wandering
Scenario: You want to be at home but your memory has started to go, and sometimes you become confused or head out without knowing where you’re going. Maybe this is true of your spouse or partner, and everytime you fall asleep or go to the shops, you become anxious not knowing if they are wandering again.
For your family, they don’t want harm to come to you. They’re thinking about helping you go somewhere, where there’s more help and monitoring available to ensure your safety and wellbeing.
In each of these cases, an outdoor camera positioned by the gate or doorway will send you or those you authorise, a text and video image if there’s any movement. This not only brings you all peace of mind, it helps you know whether you should worry and take action - without even having to be there 24/7. It also helps ensure you or someone you love can be at home longer; reassuring the whole family there’s a plan if something happens.
Special features: Instant text and video notifications, motion sensor and night vision.
4. Peace of Mind. Detecting Movement Inside at the Right Time
Scenario: An indoor camera, plugged in or wireless, can be set up in the hallway or kitchen which sends an alert when movement is detected. “8:41am movement detected in the kitchen”. This helps you feel confident if you were unwell or unable to get out of bed, additionally, your family would know what had happened. No video is sent, just a text alert letting those authorised know that all is well.
Special features: Can be a home hub or indoor camera, wireless or plugged in, instant alerts by text message / SMS.
5. Connectedness. Dropping in to Say Hello and Chat
Scenario: When you miss each other, place a home hub smart speaker with camera (eg: Google Nest Max, Alexa Show) in the kitchen or on the coffee table by your favourite chair. Families who are authorised, can drop into the home hub camera and chat with you as you make dinner each night, share stories or just catch up on the news.
You can also drop in on them when you’re missing companionship between visitors, or ask the device with your voice, to “video call ...” or “make a group video call”.
Special features include face tracking to keep you front and centre, and voice assistant capabilities.
6. See for Yourself. Checking Into a Room if You’re Worried
Scenario: You’ve fallen over, or the smoke alarm has gone off and you’re not answering your phone. For your family, they want to drive over and make sure you are ok and well. Over time, the concern is ever present and it may drive you to go into care sooner than you need, in anticipation of an incident.
Tell your family you’re ok, and if they are worried, they can drop in, speak to you and you can speak with them. A good way for siblings to all help out, not just the ones that live the closest, made responsible for driving over all the time. It also means less worry for everyone when you know you can check-in at any time, if needed.
Special features: Easily connect, view and monitor day or night, with or without audio.
7. Unwell or Recovering. Monitoring Someone Overnight
Scenario: You’re a little unwell or recovering, and not confident due to your recent heart problems, sleep apnea, hip replacement or falling from bed. So what are your options? Stay in care 24/7 (this may be the best option!), or place a camera by the bedside like you would a baby monitor, so you can be as near as possible, whether in another room or another suburb, you check in as often as you need.
Special features: Motion detection, instant alerts and instantly check-in to ensure everything is ok.
Our Top Camera Picks and Why We Think They Help
There are many home security cameras that offer high-end functions with advanced features to help improve your comfort, security and visibility at home.
These are our topic picks, due to the range, design, user friendliness for setup, application features for sharing across cameras or with family members and brand trustworthiness as well as from our experience combined with a wide range of customer reviews.
Top Pick 1: Arlo’s Brand - Camera Range
Top Pick for most reasons, including the widest range and accessories
One of our favourite range of cameras, Arlo’s security camera range is well designed, dependable, and has a range of cameras and features, from the Arlo Baby, Wireless, Night Vision, Spotlight, Siren camera, and solar charging panels.
Amazing Resolution and Night vision: The Arlo Pro 3 and Arlo Pro 2 Home Security Camera Systems offer 2K resolution & High Dynamic Range. You can zoom in on any object and view it in full colour and excellent clarity. The cameras can also see in colour when the room is dark.
Reinforced Security: The Arlo Pro 3 and Arlo Pro 2 Security Cameras also feature an integrated spotlight that enables you to light up the space at night and see what is happening instantly. It also has a Built-In Siren that can be triggered remotely or automatically to scare off any unwanted visitors.
Easy Setup: Arlo cameras are wireless and can be easily set up through a magnetic mount. The installation is quick, and the cameras can be paired with Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant for your ease of access.
Top Pick 2: Wyze Brand - Camera
Top pick for low price and consistently high user reviews and ratings, including more than 50,000 positive Amazon reviews.
Here’s what we like about the Wyse cameras for home independence.
Pan, Tilt, and Zoom (PTZ): lets you control Wyze Cam Pan remotely using the Wyze app so you can see every angle of your room while you’re away, on demand. Full HD live streaming lets you see inside your home from anywhere in real time using your mobile device. While live streaming, use two-way audio to speak with your friends and family through the Wyze app.
Motion and Sound Recording: Wyze Cam Pan can automatically record a 12-second video clip when motion or sound is detected and saves that video to the cloud. Mobile push notifications can be enabled so you’re only alerted when something is detected letting you stay on top of things without having to constantly monitor the app.
Share One Wyze Cam with Family: can be shared with multiple family members so everyone can have access to its live stream and video recordings. Just have your family members download the Wyze app and invite them to your account. Camera sharing can also be easily removed.
Night Vision: lets you see in absolute darkness which means you have total visibility to check-up or check-in on family, day or night. Now that’s peace of mind for everybody.
Top Pick 3: Ring Brand: Ring Video Camera Range
Top pick for the Amazon ecosystem including fit with Alexa enabled devices.
Owned by Amazon: the Ring Camera range includes a series of cameras such as Ring Indoor camera, the Ring Stick up Camera (and Elite), Ring Video Doorbell, Floodlight and Spotlight. With a large range for a name you can trust, there’s a camera that works for you and your family’s needs.
Quick and Easy to Set Up: watch over your entire home by connecting one or multiple Indoor Cams to all of your Ring devices in the Ring app. Gain access and visibility wherever you decide to place the camera throughout your home.
Motion Detection & Notifications: get notifications whenever motion is detected by adjusting your Motion Detection settings. Enjoy peace of mind of knowing when there’s movement without leaving your room or when you’re away.
Note: It is possible to use the service without a subscription, however additional features, such as storing recordings over time, require one.
Top Pick 4: Eufy Camera Range
The Eufy range of cameras is a good all rounder, with features such as:
Facial Recognition - Not Just Humans: this camera can recognise people, birds, dogs or cats and gives the ability to detect who is moving and whether it’s your family member or someone new. Goodbye intruders, hello safe home.
Free Local Storage: means no monthly fees and the Eufy camera is highly encrypted and doesn’t store images, for security reasons, in the cloud. This means your privacy and security is less exposed to cyber-crime.
Extra Long Battery Life: with some cameras lasting up to 365 days on a single charge, if monitoring a front door or driveway you can rest assured that you don't need to constantly change batteries or recharge the camera.
Same Great Features: like our other top cameras listed here, such as two way talk, weatherproof and accessories - so you’re not giving up some of the essential features you may need when considering the reasons why you are getting a camera in the first place.
Top Pick 5: Amazon Echo Show 8
Top pick for a camera on a smart speaker and home hub.
The Amazon Echo Show products can assist with a range of helpful functions for living independently, including the ability for family to “drop in” via the camera, or to start a video call from the home out to one or more people.
Other relevant features we love, include asking “Hey Alexa, show me the front door camera” to see who’s at the door, detecting movement and sending alerts, and a range of skills, help, calling and the Alexa Care Hub functions designed for caring remotely. Check out our previous article here.
These next two brands have a niche we like and wanted to give a special mention that may suit your need or circumstance better:
Lollipop - we like it’s flexible stem suitable for wrapping around e.g. stair railings or handles, that might have the benefit of being easily moved with someone’s changing needs, or may allow you to put it in just the right place.
Home8 - we like that Home8 specialise in home monitoring solutions. Definitely worth looking at if you want a set, as Home8 has more options for independent living devices, such as fall detection, movement detection, medication reminders and much more.
When it comes to privacy, it’s something we all value deeply. The challenge is, that complete privacy may mean that no one can help you when you need it. There are a few aspects to consider here.
Privacy can be protected at several levels and can be considered with the benefits.
For example: The desirability of having your independence and the backup of your family with access to a camera at home as opposed to having carers check up on you or being at a care facility.
Privacy can include how the camera:
May be accessed by someone you don’t know
May be accessed by someone in your family
May store or access data for marketing purposes
The following suggested guidelines will help with safety and reduce your concerns.
Always respect individual rights of all people
Seek permission and agree the terms eg. if there’s no answer, you’ll check. Privacy can be managed in agreement with those around you
Place cameras away from sensitive areas such as bedrooms and bathrooms unless agreed and necessary eg. during the recovery home from hospital. Indoor cameras often have a cover to slide over the camera, should you wish temporarily
Check the provider policy and location of storage files eg. Arlo’s Privacy Pledge
Set up the camera with the right settings, change the default passwords, timeframes and monitor consent questions asked by the supplier
Have two people in your family be responsible for seeing who has access and monitoring that.
Tips for Getting Outcomes
Have a conversation about the ‘why’, with your family and health professionals for their feedback.
Take the time to set it up properly, both hardware and software, alerts and notifications, and letting the family know how to download the app.
Assign family members or siblings to help, for example rotating who leaves their alerts on, and sound turned up during the night
Decide if you have wifi or need to get a sim/plan from your telecommunications provider
Consider if, or how often the camera battery needs charging. It may be a long life battery, solar powered or connected to power permanently.
Consider if you would benefit from complementary devices, like movement detection, smart door lock or a voice assistant.
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