What Do You Say To Your Parent When You Want To Install Nest Cameras?

I would like to install Nest cameras to check on my mom, who lives alone. She will definitely ask what they're for. I'm worried she will feel that her privacy will be threatened and decline. What explanations did you all offer when taking this step??

Living Independently


Jan 30, 2021

I've heard of Nest cameras, but I'm not familiar with their capabilities. Do they have a 2-way camera where mom could also see you and talk with you? Maybe mom would be more accepting of a camera if it provided her some contact with you/family.

I was going to get an Amazon Echo Show for my parents' house because it allows you to "drop in" on people, and you can both see and hear each other. I see Amazon is also starting a new Care Hub feature that allows you to keep track of loved ones.

I didn't get an Echo Show because I had already spent money on other cameras for my parents' house. I actually didn't ask them if I could put the cameras up -- I just did it.

I started by putting one camera in full view in the main living area. I worried that they would yell about it, or unplug it, since they are stubborn, private, "independent" people, but they didn't. Dad asked what it was a couple of times, and I told him that it's a camera. He said, "It is not." I didn't argue with him. I have since put up several more cameras in plain view in all the "fall zones."

Invasion of privacy? Yep. But, in my opinion, if they want to stay living in their home, that's the price they have to pay. We can certainly take the cameras out, and at that point, I will stop assisting them. The cameras are one of the tools that I require in order to assist them.

Once I stop assisting them, they will end up going to a place with less privacy where there's a good chance that they also use cameras! Mom and dad have both already been in the hospital and rehabs that have used cameras.

I use the cameras respectfully. I look in on them quickly to make sure that they aren't on the floor. I don't spend all day with my eyes glued to the screen. And, I certainly don't want to see any "private moments."

Life Alert necklaces and braceletts won't work for them because they will refuse or forget to wear them. Or, they wouldn't remember how to use them.

I also use the cameras to make sure their caregiver has shown up, since we've had several "no-shows."

So at this point, the cameras are working for us. Luckily, mom and dad didn't fight it. Now, I don't think they even notice the cameras.

There are downsides to the cameras -- or at least my setup. If the wireless connection drops, which it does a few times per month, the cameras turn off. At that point, I have to go to their house and hit the button to reset the router.

Plus, I have to have several cameras placed throughout the house and positioned just right in order to see the needed areas. Sometimes a caregiver will shift a camera inadvertantly when cleaning, or put something in front of the lens.

Other cons include taking time to choose and set up cameras that are going to work for you. My cameras were fairly easy to set up, and they have good video, even in the dark. But, the sound feature is useless. The motion alert really hasn't been helpful because it seems to go between being too sensitive and not sensitive enough.

And of course, the cameras don't prevent falls, but they hopefully help you to get to a loved quickly if/when something does happen.


Jan 30, 2021

We added those buttons (ours are Smart Things) that allow you to turn things on and off from an app, they are meant for lights I think but we added one to the Echo Show and other things that need to be rebooted sometimes so we can do that from wherever. Having to head over there every time that happened was a real pain but necessary since these are the tools we use to keep mom at home too.


Jan 30, 2021

When my stepdad passed in June, my mom was left by herself. I explained that I thought it would be a good idea to install security cameras to catch any intruders or to make sure I could look in should she fall or have an emergency. I also remarked that this was the most economical solution and would keep her from needing to go into assisted living.

I chose an all Google nest approach. In addition to the cameras, she has 2 google max hubs where I've programmed a slide show of family photos. She's even learned how to trigger a video call with me.

Before considering any of this, you'll need to confirm that they have an internet provider that offers an unlimited data plan. Many providers begin charging extra once your internet traffic reaches a certain level.

My mom has a great provider. We've set-up her service with 300mb wifi speed. I also swapped out her internet modem and router. The one the service provided was adequate but moving to a 3 unit google wifi router allowed us to maintain a strong signal in all parts of her home.


1. Before you consider this type of solution contact their internet provider, explain what you're thinking of doing and ask for their recommendation of level of service.

2. Have a conversation with your loved one. First, listen to their concerns about the setup. Assure them this is a security and safety measure. Walk them through what your thinking of doing. Get their feedback and work together on placement, options, etc.

3. The bottom line is this needs to be a group effort. If they strongly object, don't force it. Now they are informed about options that exist and could easily request this down the road.

I hope this help!!!! ❤️


Jan 30, 2021

Contacting the ISP is very important. Many rural locations simply do not have the bandwidth to allow remote camera monitoring.

We have has several thefts at our rural property. I am going to install trail cameras, as they have batteries and cards to store the images. Our internet is far too slow and limited to allow for live streaming.

I worry too about replying on technology when a parent is at the point when it is being considered, they generally are nearing the point when they need 24/7 care.


Jan 27, 2021

Explain them fully. If she does not want them you cannot do this. It is for her safety, yes, but it is a definite and complete invasion of her privacy. You must not do this without her permission.


Jan 27, 2021

Limiting what the camera will see can mitigate the invasion of privacy. You don't need eyes on her 24/7 if the object is to ensure she isn't ill or had an accident, with one camera in the kitchen you can see if she is up and about at least 3 times a day. Imagine how you would feel if she was the one watching you.


Jan 30, 2021

I seem to remember a prototype elder cottage ADU that had cameras mounted low and directed to the areas directly above the floors

The theory was that the video would show if someone had fallen but not give a lot of detail on normal activity.

I like the idea of an overview of the kitchen and maybe the front door area.


Jan 30, 2021

I have installed cameras at my mom's apt. Mom has Alzheimer's. I asked if it would be ok and she sais she trusted me. Her sister had a camera in her apt for years , just because she was liing alone and her son, a computer expert was able to set something up with a web cam way before nest and such things. So mom was not new to the idea.

As for privacy, as I told a nurse who came in to see her and was worried about the cameras, I am the only person that has access to the cameras, if it was not for COVID, I would have been there personally while she was there and by my mom's side, and , final argument, I won't see anything that I would not see if she was living with me.

I believe that the "why" they are there, and the "how" you use them is a big part of the right or wrong . It is a cost/benefit decision :privacy vs safety and ,quality of life I will add. I sometimes use them to help her find things ( not too small things), or when I notice a lamp is not working or that she has messed up the tv settings and it is not working anymore, I can call the residence and have someone go in and fix it. I also check before calling if she is not in the bathroom ( where I can only see her feet...), so she doesn't come running to the phone with her pants down her ankles or don't wake her up if she is napping. Just like I would peek in her room to see if she was asleep if she was at home with me.

I hesitated for a long time to put them in, and now I would not imagine not having them. With all the thing that I was able to do for her because of what I saw, it is worth the downsides...You will have to learn how to operate the cameras, but you will have to learn how you operate yourself to deal with being able to "keep an eye" all the time, and also deal with "seeing" your parent alone. "Knowing" that they are all alone is one thing, "seeing" them all alone is another. Images are powerful. But I also get to see happy moments that I would not otherwise. You take the good with the bad. As with everything, I believe that there is no universal right or wrong, you have to do what works for you and your loved one, plus it is something that is not all or nothing. You can ajust the equipment and the use your your specifics needs and situation and change them as the situations changes.

These are my virtual guardian angel two cents.

ps, tech advice, if you install something, get something that doesn't require you to be on site to fix any little glitches... some systems are better than other I believe regarding that aspect


Jan 28, 2021

Just be honest - for your safety. Explain if she didn't answer the phone because something was wrong, you'd be able to see inside her house to figure out what's wrong.


Jan 30, 2021

Best thing I ever did! We explained to mom it was for 'our' peace of mind. We muted sound - both ways - and had it set to see her living area - a portion of her bedroom and a bathroom - she was in independent living facility apartment. It was mounted high and I think at times she forgot it was even there - which was apparent by her lack of clothing at times.

Thank God we had this. She had a terrible fall out of bed with a severe head injury. Crawled her way to the phone to call me. Used her call button to alert on-site staff who called 911. She ended up in her local trauma center with over 120 stitches and three plastic surgeons to close her up. I had an expensive $40 camera I got on Amazon. Since the video was saved to the cloud I was able to go back and see the entire event where she was apparently asleep and just rolled right off the bed. It was quite disturbing but glad I had the footage. Her head took the entire brunt of her 100 lb body. Besides the healing of her head which you can't even detect now, she was treated for whiplash which was the worst of the pain.

Since then, after subsequent questionable situations, we moved to her residential assisted living, again telling her it was for her safety. She's doing great and we feel so much better. Good luck!!!


Jan 30, 2021

With my mom we started with a camera over her medicine table which is next to her bed/couch/main table, the area she spends most of her time. The camera can’t see her but can see the tops of her tables and part of the floor, we can usually tell when she is sitting up and can look back to see if she lay down or got up. We started with that so we could track her medications when she went on heart meds that have to be taken at certain times, that way we could check in and if she hadn’t taken them call her. As she made more mistakes on “her own” with the timing and talking them we added the Echo so we could drop in and talk face to face and a dispenser so she couldn’t make a mistake and take morning pills at night or night in the morning. She’s also diabetic so making sure she takes her BS and shot... Our oversight has increased as needed but we eased into it and she has welcomed it for the most part. But the privacy thing was a source of concern for all of us, we didn’t want to invade or see anything we didn’t need to and she of course likes her independent privacy so we showed her exactly what we could see with the camera mounted over the top of the medicine table and tried to teach her that all we could see on the Echo Show was the little picture in the corner of her that she could see too. The Show also has a fuzzy screen for several seconds before it comes into focus and gives the person receiving the drop in the time to reject the visit or blank out the screen which of course defeats the purpose for us but is useful for others. Mom really likes the Echo and has mostly forgotten about the over head camera which she never retained understanding of anyway, though early on she would cover it every now and then when she was getting dressed or pissed at us for getting on her to eat and drink water or whatever. Mostly we have involved her in setting up routines, etc that allow us to check in without bothering her and she knows these devices and our oversight is what’s keeping her in her home so she doesn’t complain and she’s gotten used to them. She often thinks I am in the room when we talk on the Echo which we think is a really positive thing especially now with COVID. We have a dot, voice no visual in the room as well as back up and in the bathroom in case of fall or something and another Show in the kitchen, a camera that watches over the garage/parking area as well as a ring doorbell so we are able to see what’s going on and she likes that because she doesn’t have to deal with it. I think we did the parking area and med table camera at the same time and then moved into the others one or two at a time as we felt the need and that likely helped too, didn’t seem like everything was watching her all at once.

The big thing here though is they are necessary if she is going to stay independent at all and she understands that. It’s a fine and important balance between what is necessary to keep her safe and healthy and maintaining her privacy and independence, in order to accomplish that balance we need to keep her as involved as we can while making sure we have what we need to cover what we need to. So far it’s working but the time is bound to come...

Good luck, it can be done with their cooperation.


Jan 30, 2021

I don’t really have a suggestion here, but after reading some of the replies I wanted to give you my reason for saying having cameras is a good idea.

My mother stayed with me for several weeks after heart surgery, she was 92. She had a cell phone she kept in her pocket all the time. One day when I was at work I called to check on her, no reply, I called several more times with no reply.

I have a Canary camera located in the living room so I checked it's live feed. Mom was sitting in her favorite chair watching TV and petting the cat. I called her again while watching her and she didn’t even blink!

When I got home I checked her phone and found that she had her phone in her pocket and had turned off the ringer when she put it in her pocket.

So having a camera saved me a panicked run home and an hour of anxiety.


Jan 30, 2021

My mother only had a wall phone and portable. She constantly misplaced the portable (we found it the last time quite a while after the move to MC - it was in the basement, dead as a doornail!) It even came with a handheld one, like a Star Trek communicator, on a lanyard, but she put that away somewhere. YB installed a flasher that would go off with doorbell or phone, but she dismantled that and put it away too! Neighbor was helpful, when she was home, but sometimes she was away.

She somehow managed to turn the ringer off the wall phone! Bad enough with lousy hearing and forgetting to replace the battery in her hearing aid, but with the ringer off, it was worse! We also had some cameras, but it may have been after this "incident." After 2+ days of calling and no answer, I finally had to call the PD for a check (neighbor was away.) The officer was smart enough to see that the phone had 3 quick calls set up with our names. She called me, as she had my contact name. She said hang up and call back. Sure enough, the ringer was off. She fixed it! Mom, of course, just says "Oh that daughter of mine", like I'm some kind of worry-wort!!! I didn't live close enough to swing by to check, so thankful the PD would do the check!

Any attempt to use those alert buttons, etc would not have worked with her either. She wouldn't think she needs it and/or would put it away or lose it. The cameras YB put in were a help. She'd often sit at the kitchen table (one camera monitored the front door and could see into the kitchen area) or be in there to get food or a drink, so we'd know she was up and about!

It isn't about dignity or privacy, it's about peace of mind.


Jan 30, 2021

I would tell your Mom that the camera's would make YOU feel better and see how she reacts to that. My Mom lives with me and wears a Philip's Lifeline pendant which has fall detection (and it works).

I recently installed a Nooie 360 cam which works on my smartphone as well as Alexa and I love it! I can see my Mom when I go out and even talk to through the intercom.

I didn't tell my Mom because she has dementia and she wouldn't understand. I installed it in her bedroom right in front of her and she didn't ask me anything.

Why did I get a camera? To make me feel better and give me peace of mind when I have to go out to buy groceries or pick up her meds.

Good luck!


Areas We Cover