Checking in on elderly relatives easily

A smartphone is a great way to keep in touch. You can share not just voice calls but video calls, music and pictures too. My elderly relatives love using Skype to talk to their friends and relations from all over the world but it’s usually my smartphone and my “magic twiddling” that makes it all happen.

Getting your gran involved in technology can be pretty tricky, and getting them to use a smartphone even more so. So, if you want to keep in touch without the cost, 3rings might be the answer. Personally I’d recommend you actually visiting and keeping in touch by phone yourself, but for a daily update which can be shared with the whole family – this could work well.

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It works using the old “3 rings” method, which many people (pre-mobile phones) used to use to let loved ones know they’d arrived somewhere. You’d get to work (for example) and then call home, letting the phone ring three times before disconnecting. It meant that you didn’t get charged a connection fee and your mom or dad would know that you’ve arrived safe. See? Thrifty eh?

The system from 3rings works in a similar way. Your granny or other elderly relative just makes a daily call to the 3rings automated service and then it’ll send out a message to your entire network of family and friends. The system can text, email, call or update you via the iOS or Android app.

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There’s two paid-for services and a free trial. The most basic option is £5.99 per month, but obviously that’s even cheaper if you split it between your family.

Here’s a video showing it in action…

The £5.99 plan covers two households and sends updates to up to 10 family and friends. For the elderly relative it’s no cost at all. For £9.99 you can get four households monitored and up to 50 family members receiving updates. The system is run by some very cool people up in Manchester who care about the product. It all came about after Gareth (the 3rings CEO) told the story of how his Mum used to know that his Nan was OK. Every day, Gareth’s Nan would use the telephone to call and let it ring just 3 times. The result is this service.