Caregivers often have difficulties in taking care of their patients, which are often the elderly or people with Alzheimer’s, dementia, and special needs. These difficulties arise whenever they have to do another task or chore in another room while they are away from their patients, as there is a chance that the patients would suddenly wander around the house, fall from their bed or experience pain and discomfort in a particular area of their body.
Fortunately, there are now many products and devices that can help caregivers in monitoring seniors and patients with special needs, and one of these devices is the motion sensor. What is a motion sensor? What are its different types? And how do you know which sensors are better than the others? To know more, here is a guide to selecting motion sensors.
What is a Motion Sensor?
A motion sensor is a device that is used to detect movement in specific rooms and areas. When the motion sensors detect movement, they will send a signal to an alarm device that will produce a sound that will alert you of movement in a particular area of the house.
Motion sensors are usually utilized for security purposes, as they are effective in detecting if there are strangers or trespassers in your yard and home. However, in recent years, motion sensors have been used to monitor the movements of seniors and patients with injuries and illnesses that require special attention. In addition to the elderly, motion sensors can also be utilized to track the movement of kids around the house so that you will know if they are entering a room or area where they aren’t allowed to go.
What are the Types of Motion Sensors?
There are different kinds of motion sensors that are available today, and each of these types has its own pros and cons. Picking the type of motion sensor to use to monitor seniors and patients is important, as there are some types that are more effective for the said purpose compared to others. To get more information, here are details about the different types of motion sensors.
Passive Infrared Motion Sensor
The most common type of motion sensor is the passive infrared sensor, which detects movement by sensing a difference in temperature in the area.  So, when the infrared sensor detects the body heat of a moving person, which has a temperature that is significantly higher compared to the objects and pieces of furniture in the room, it will send a signal that it has detected movement to the alarm.
The passive infrared motion sensor emits infrared waves that create a protective grid in all areas of the room where it is installed. So, when this protective grid is disturbed by a moving person that is blocking too many areas of the grid with his or her body temperature, the motion sensor then triggers the alarm.
The reason why passive infrared motion sensors are common today is that they are significantly less expensive compared to other types of sensors. However, the downside to this type of motion sensor is that it covers less space, so it may not be effective in very large rooms or yards.
Microwave Motion Sensor
The microwave motion sensor emits microwaves that bounce off different objects and furniture inside the rooms. When the microwaves bounce off a moving object, animal, or person, the motion sensor would then trigger the alarm.
Microwave motion sensors can typically cover large areas, so they are more effective in very large rooms or areas in the house, unlike passive infrared sensors that have limited reach. But, the drawback to microwave sensors is that they can be very expensive.
Dual Technology Sensor
The dual technology sensor has the features of both the passive infrared and the microwave motion sensors. Because there are two sensors working alongside each other, there are fewer instances that the dual technology sensor will send a false alarm, as one sensor would have to check the validity of the movement detected by the other sensor. So, before the alarm is triggered, the two sensors inside the device would need to trip or detect movement in the room. 
Pet-Immune Motion Sensor
The pet-immune motion sensor is a smart sensor that can detect if a pet or a person is moving around in the room. If a pet, like a dog or a cat, is moving, the motion sensor won’t trigger the alarm, and this is done with the help of a technology that can calculate the weight of the moving subject detected by the sensor. So, the motion sensor would only trigger the alarm if the moving subject weighs around the normal weight of a human.
The contact sensor typically consists of two parts, which are the sensor and the part that activates the sensor. Contact sensors are primarily used on doors and windows, wherein one part of the sensor can be installed on the actual door or window while the other part is installed on the door frame or window frame. The alarm of the sensor triggers when the two parts of the sensor are separated, which happens whenever the door or window is opened.
The video sensor is another smart sensor that triggers the alarm whenever there is a movement that is captured on the video feed that is recorded by the built-in camera. What’s great about a lot of video sensors is that you can save the recordings of the camera and view them through a smartphone or computer. The biggest downside of video sensors is that they are some of the most expensive motion sensors you can buy on the market, as they also act as small security cameras for your home.
Tips for Selecting the Best Motion Sensors
Due to how many types and models of motion sensors are available in physical and online stores, it can be very difficult for a lot of people, especially caregivers, to know which of those sensors is considered the best. Thankfully, there are a few tips that people can follow to have a much faster time finding the perfect motion sensors for their patients or elderly loved ones. Here are the tips for selecting the best motion sensors.
Pick Motion Sensors that are Easy to Install
In order for you to not have difficulties putting motion sensors in the patient’s room or in any area of the house or nursing facility, you should look for motion sensors that are relatively easy to install. Battery-powered sensors are usually the easiest to install, as they don’t have wires or cables that you need to hang on the walls or ceilings in order for the sensors to work.
However, the drawback to battery-powered sensors is that you would need to replace their batteries every now and then, which could take a lot of time to do if you have multiple sensors installed in the house. But battery-powered sensors are still the best options if you want to retain the appearance of the rooms and areas of the house without installing or placing too many wires or cables.
Here are three battery-powered motion sensors that you can check out:
- HENDUN Motion Sensor – this motion sensor system features a transmitter and a receiver that are both battery-powered. What’s interesting about this motion sensor system is that it can still work without batteries by connecting them to a micro-USB power supply. The batteries used for the receiver are 3 AA alkaline batteries, while the transmitter needs 3 AAA alkaline batteries.
- EverNary Wireless Caregiver Pager Motion Sensor – another motion sensor that can be powered by batteries or a micro-USB power supply. Besides sound alerts, this motion sensor can also provide visual alerts by creating alert flashes through the LED light indicator.
- GREENCYCLE Motion Sensor – a motion sensor that can be paired with multiple transmitters using just one receiver. This motion sensor system has four volume levels for you to customize how loud the alarm sound will be.
Check Online Reviews
Reviews are some of the easiest and fastest ways for you to get information about different motion sensors that you are planning to buy. Many reviews of motion sensors can be read or watched on review websites that are dedicated to reviewing motion sensors and other devices, blogs that are created by caregivers or people that are taking care of the elderly, or forums where opinions of people that have tried various motion sensors are published.
But there are also reviews that are readily available in online shops where you can buy the motion sensors. Reading or watching reviews will allow you to know details that are not mentioned in the description of different motion sensors, and you will also learn about the pros and cons of each device or model.
Check out these two motion sensors that have good reviews:
- AMHEY Wireless Motion Sensor – this motion sensor features 32 different ringtones so that you can customize how the alarm tone will sound. Moreover, the sensor also has five adjustable volumes from 0 dB to 110 dB.
- Smart Caregiver TL-5102MP Motion Sensor and Pager – a popular motion sensor system that allows the caregiver to monitor movements in the senior or patient’s room remotely. Furthermore, the pager is separate from the actual motion sensor, so the alarm sound wouldn’t be heard from the patient’s room (if the pager is far from the sensor), which is important to avoid startling the senior or patient.
Buy Motion Sensors with Warranty
No matter how durable or reliable motion sensors are, there is still a chance that some of them will fail. During the situation where the motion sensors don’t work anymore, it is important for them to have a warranty so that they can be fixed or replaced without the need for you to shell out money for repairs or replacements. Warranties are already given once you have purchased motion sensors. But be wary that there are some devices that don’t have a warranty, so make sure that you are buying sensors that have one so that you can easily get them repaired or replaced for free.
Motion sensors are a must-have for caregivers and people that are taking care of elderly patients and loved ones that have Alzheimer’s, dementia, and other illnesses or disorders, as they will be able to monitor the movement of the person they are caring for, especially when the patient is prone to wandering. We hope this guide has made it easy and fast for you to find the best and most suitable motion sensors for the patient’s home or for the nursing facility.
 Tross, K. (2022, October 28). The Beginner’s Guide to Motion Sensors. SafeWise. Retrieved January 11, 2023, from https://www.safewise.com/resources/motion-sensor-guide/