An envoyatHome Success Story: Discovering Rita’s Serious Health Issue with the Help of our Elderly Remote Monitor

November 10, 2023

As our loved ones age, it can be increasingly difficult for them to recognize the quiet indicators that signal a need for immediate attention. One of the most common yet dangerous conditions affecting seniors is Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs). According to the National Institutes of Health, UTIs are the second most common infection in geriatric patients, and because of the potential for serious complications including death, immediate testing and treatment is required. The combination of an older adult’s inability to recognize the indicators of a UTI, combined with its high risk for complications, is a situation that greatly concerns family caregivers. 

This is the story of Rita, an 81-year-old woman who lived independently in her own home a thousand miles away from family. Rita had typical, age-related mobility challenges like knee and back pain that slowed her down, but was fortunate to have a home health aide by her side during the day to help. Rita’s family’s challenge was that like many older adults, Rita was alone and unsupervised from late afternoon through the next morning, more than 16 hours with no supervision. Her children had the foresight to deploy a home monitoring system for elderly to ensure Rita was safe and well while she was alone.

For Rita and her family, the elderly monitoring system would prove instrumental in helping to ensure Rita sought treatment for a life-threatening UTI. In this blog post we’ll share the details of Rita’s story and how envoyatHome’s monitoring system played a crucial role in helping to identify the subtle, behavioral indicators that led to a medical diagnosis, hospital admission, and successful treatment for an unnoticed but life-threatening infection.

Rita’s Aging in Place Journey

After Rita’s husband passed, she found herself living alone in her retirement home located in an over 55 residential community. While some of her recently widowed friends were considering assisted living communities, Rita was committed to staying in her own home for as long as possible – even if she needed to hire help for Activities of Daily Living (ADLs) like dressing, bathing, toileting, and meal prep. 

Despite the fact that Rita was able to afford a few hours per day of health aide services, Rita was at home alone for over 16 long hours every day. This meant that Rita’s children had to depend on her to let them know if she was safe and well. But that proved more difficult than one might realize. According to a survey by Forbes Health, 47% of older adults fear losing their independence. To compensate for this fear, some older adults are reluctant to self-report issues for fear their family caregivers will see them as too needy or incapable of aging in their own homes. Rita’s children were worried that her desire to age in place might result in this reluctance to share her challenges.

Like many adult children of the recently widowed, Rita’s son and daughter were especially concerned about her safety and well-being at night when she was alone. How would they know if she needed help? How would they know if she was safe and well? With no other family close by, how would they fulfill their obligation to help Rita stay in the home that she loved? To alleviate their concerns, Rita’s children decided to deploy a senior monitoring system. They chose envoyatHome for both its discreet operation and its specialization in monitoring behaviors – behaviors that put older adults at risk. 

Discovering Unobserved Behavior: The Most Important Feature of an Elderly Monitor

While Rita was supervised by a home health aide during the day, It turns out that part time supervision wasn’t enough to observe the subtle changes in Rita’s behavior. This was the case for Rita and her bathroom use, known as toileting behavior. While completely unremarkable during the day, Rita’s bathroom use during the overnight hours was becoming more frequent. Over the course of just a few days, envoyatHome’s discovery and analysis of Rita’s toileting behavior revealed that while Rita typically used the bathroom two to three times during the overnight hours, that for three consecutive nights, Rita used the bathroom five to six times – over 200% of the expected frequency.

The envoyatHome remote monitor notified Rita’s children of her atypical behavior.

Appreciating full well that this behavior may have been indicative of a UTI, Rita’s children were understandably concerned. Later that morning, Rita’s daughter started a conversation by asking Rita if she was feeling well, to which Rita replied that she was fine. Rita’s daughter then asked the home health aide if there was anything remarkable in Rita’s daytime toileting, to which the aide replied that nothing seemed out of the ordinary.

Armed with envoyatHome Insights reports from the prior evenings, however, Rita’s daughter insisted the home health aide immediately take Rita to Urgent Care. Initially resistant to the idea due to no perceptible discomfort and no recollection of increased overnight bathroom visits, Rita eventually relented and reluctantly agreed to go. At urgent care later that afternoon, Rita was tested and diagnosed with a severe UTI with possible sepsis, otherwise known as blood poisoning, and transferred to the hospital via ambulance. Neither Rita nor her caregiver had any idea that she had a life-threatening infection. But because her behavior had changed, envoyatHome knew something was different.

A Timely Medical Intervention, Thanks in Part to envoyatHome

envoyatHome’s monitoring system played a crucial role in identifying the behavioral indicators of Rita’s UTI. How did it know? One of the key features of envoyatHome is its ability to silently discover, monitor, report, and analyze over 35 behaviors – behaviors like toileting, sleep-related behavior, and dementia behaviors like wandering, elopement, anxiety, pacing, and confusion, giving family caregivers peace of mind that they can intervene earlier to avoid an emergency.

Many older adults aging in place like Rita fear speaking up about wellness and safety concerns for fear of losing their independence. Due to dementias, age-related memory loss, or even the side effects of medications, covid, or other infections, some older adults simply cannot speak up – they don’t have the cognitive wherewithal to recognize when they need help. This leads to serious issues going unaddressed, risking the very autonomy that older adults crave. In Rita’s case, envoyatHome identified the subtle behavioral indicators of a serious issue that instead of leading to catastrophe, led to increased peace of mind and for her family caregivers.

About envoyatHome

envoyatHome is committed to caregivers of older adults aging in place. Featured in Kiplinger, Fortune, National Council on Aging, and, envoyatHome is a solution for caregivers that delivers full time, affordable senior care for the digital age. You can reach us at or 856.681.0076.

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