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This DIY system monitors all of the doors in a senior care home

Arduino TeamMay 19th, 2023

Senior care homes may get a bad rap in popular culture, but they serve a legitimate and important purpose. As people age, their requirements for care can exceed the capability of their families. When that becomes the case, professional care may be prudent. To help those professionals care for residents, Hayden designed this system that can monitor up to 40 doors in a nursing home.

The senior care facility where Hayden works already had a system for tracking each resident room with a PIR (passive infrared) sensor. But that system was no longer functional and wasn’t serving any purpose. Instead of buying a whole new system, Hayden chose to tap into the existing sensors. To do that, they used five Arduino Mega 2560 boards to create hub units. Those hubs were spread around the building and each one monitors the PIR sensors from a handful of rooms.

Those hub units contain nRF24L01 radio transceiver modules so they can communicate sensor status to a central control unit at the nurses station, also powered by an Arduino Mega. That control unit features a 240×128 LCD to show the status of each room along with a real-time clock, an SD card module for logging data to CSV, and a piezo buzzer and LED for alerts.

But attendants aren’t always near their desk, so Hayden built a handful of handheld devices as well. Those are more rudimentary and only include nRF24 modules, small screens, and batteries. Employees can carry those smaller devices with them at all times and they will display any room with activity that triggers the PIR sensor, ensuring that a resident receives immediate attention if they leave their room when they shouldn’t.