Frequently Asked Questions

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Service Basics
Service Basics

How do you deal with emergency situations?

The Dooinwell service is not an emergency alert system. Even with several daily check-ins, an event may occur at a time that will require several hours before our service raises an alert. The safety of an older adult first of all requires the capacity to contact emergency service at all times. But if an emergency situation has arisen and remains unnoticed, Dooinwell reduces the amount of time before the family gets aware, which is likely to mitigate the consequences of the event. In addition, when things are actually going well, Dooinwell brings reliable confidence in your parent’s status rather than uncertainty.

Can the older adult launch an alert?

If you enable "Hey Siri" or set up an HomePod device for your parent, the Dooinwell Siri Shortcuts allow your parent to send you a request for assistance, with a straightforward, hands-free command while at distance from any device. In case of emergency, the standard Siri ability to place a call to emergency services should however be preferred.
The Dooinwell app itself does not currently feature a panic button or an alert function. In the event of an urgent situation, it seems natural that a parent shall use the standard communication or alert features of the smartphone if in capacity to reach the device. For a non-urgent situation, a parent can however request that you get in touch as part of a check-in submission. You’re in this case immediately notified.

What smartphone and data plan are required to use the service ?

The older adult needs to have access to at least an iPhone, iPad or iPod touch with internet connectivity when at home (Wi-Fi or mobile data), that runs iOS 14 or higher. For iPhone or iPad, a mobile data plan is optional and brings the added benefit of location tracking when the parent is on-the-go and carrying the device. In the eventuality of an alert, location tracking gives useful context information to assess the situation, but it is not required for the service to work.
For the relatives who want to look after the older adult, an iPhone or iPad running iOS 14 or higher is required. A mobile data plan is critical for at least one of them to always be in capacity to receive alerts. Alerts are currently exclusively delivered as notifications, i.e. they require data connectivity and not just a mobile network.
Our app for relatives comes with an Apple Watch app but activation requires an iPhone or iPad.
We do not offer Android compatibility at this point and have not yet a known timeline for Android compatibility.
We don’t offer a web-based app that you can access from a computer.


How many times a day will the older adult have to check in?

The number and time window of check-ins is customizable, from 1 check-in per day to a limit of 4 check-ins per day. For a lone elder who does not have a systematic daily interaction with another person, we recommend to rely on at least three check-ins so that if a situation arises, you become aware of it in a reasonable amount of time. Also take into account your parent’s own sense of risk and whether they prefer to check in more often or not. Keep in mind there is no need to check in while registered as on-the-go, so when a parent is having a lot of out-of-home activities the number of check-ins actually required will be lower.

What times of the day are best to schedule check-ins?

There is no perfect answer but a few aspects to have in mind.
Think about what you believe are the high-risk moments during the day of your parent, and schedule a check-in window after these periods.
Try to associate a check-in window to existing routine events - such as breakfast, lunch or dinner - to help build the habit.
Take into account that a smartphone notification is sent when the check-in window starts, so you may want to favor a start-time that is not when your parent is usually asleep.
Factor in your ability to take action: a missed check-in will be notified to you at the end of the check-in window, so pick a time when you’re typically likely to be in capacity to see the notification and take action.
If that is too much to ponder, know that our apps initially pick some default time slots for you so you can just get started with these.

Will the older adult really remember to check in?

Check-ins are a new habit to build for your parents when they start using the service.
A key first aspect is for your parent to understand how the service works and how a missed check-in will impact you. Unlike some other safety devices that a parent may stop using without the family noticing, a missed check-in triggers an alert and will require you to visit or get in touch. Therefore parents quickly see the impact of missed check-ins and improve their regularity.
The second key aspect is how the parent uses the smartphone. If a parent is not a frequent smartphone user, the notifications and reminders we send may go unnoticed. That’s the reason for our Dooinwell app to also offer a kiosk mode. The kiosk mode is great to help parents never miss a check-in as it grabs attention when needed through light and sound. By using either a refurbished or old device you own, the kiosk mode is a low-cost investment that can critically help avoid false alerts.

Out-of-home activities

Why bother registering out-of-home activities rather than just using GPS tracking?

GPS tracking and more generally the geolocation of a person is of great help to assess a situation and take action if needed, but is not a rich enough information to detect something wrong in the first place. Capturing a parent’s plans when going out is critical to understand whether their out-of-home activity is going well or not. Also, out-of-home activities can happen without a visible location change (immediate vicinity or, for buildings, common areas) and we still want to reliably monitor these activities. Similarly, a location may suggest someone is safely back home while the person has actually not yet crossed the door.  
We also want our service to work for elders who do not carry their smartphone with them or don’t have a data plan on their smartphone.


Can I change privacy settings to know in real-time how my parent is doing?

No. We want our service to be strongly respectful of the parent’s privacy and we want parents to trust that their privacy is never compromised. Therefore we do not offer options to change our standard privacy protection mechanisms. As long as a parent successfully checks in and, for outings, gets back home in the expected time window, we do not disclose any specific information to the family. We may add other alert detection mechanisms in the future, but we will continue to not disclose activity information when we do not believe your parent is potentially facing an issue.

Apple Watch

Can my parent use your service from their Apple Watch?
We currently offer an Apple Watch app to help check on the parent, but not yet for parents themselves. Parents using an Apple Watch can however already submit their check-ins from their Apple Watch, as we send notifications with embedded actions when we remind them of their check-ins.

Will you support Apple Watch set up with Family Setup?
Yes! We're not compatible yet, but we're very excited with Family Setup and how it will help older adults gain access to Apple Watch devices. We will be offering an Apple Watch app that works on these devices. If you're not famimiar with it yet, Family Setup is a recently-released Apple service which allows your family members who don't have their own iPhone to enjoy the features and benefits of an Apple Watch. The Apple Watch is setup with your own iPhone but then works without being paired to an iPhone or iPad.

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