LAFAYETTE, Colo. — As parents and grandparents get older, other family members like to ensure they are OK. And, many of them want to be healthy and independent without someone checking on them constantly.
A young Colorado entrepreneur has found the best of both worlds with a smart water sensor.
You're in good company this week with CarePenguin.
Like many of us, Marlo Vernon has older loved ones she likes to check in on.
"Adult children who have an elderly parent that they're worried about who lives alone — that's typically who our customer is," Vernon said.
Marlo and her father Todd Vernon, a software developer, came together to launch CarePenguin, a water sensor and app to detect water usage in the home.
"It's a way to see if someone is up and active going about their daily routine, without being creepy and watching them with like motion sensors or cameras," Marlo said.
The sensor connects to the hot water pipe on the water heater and stays out of sight.
"We can detect things like rinsing a mug, washing your hands, washing your face, shower, laundry," Marlo said.
It then connects to an app on your smartphone, so you can monitor your loved one's activity.
"Here's the home screen," Marlo said, demonstrating the app. "And just from a glance we can see activity is normal. ... And, if there's ever a lack of activity, they'll receive an alert encouraging them to check in and make sure everything's OK."
It's an idea that started from her days at the University of Colorado at Boulder. When she graduated in May 2020, in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic, many older adults were isolated from their families. So, she saw it as a perfect way to give everyone peace of mind.
"I learned what a huge problem this is," Marlo said. "Like, how worried people are, how they call their loved one every day purely to make sure they're still alive. And that's not a conversation that anyone wants to have."
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