What it is: A voice-activated talking clock that tells you to take your medicine at a certain time.

Now he logs onto a website to check their activity, captured via cellular connection, and remotely monitors their medication.

He sees the number of times Mom opens the refrigerator, and when Dad goes into the bathroom or heads out the door.

The San Francisco-based business advises start-ups in the aging and boomer fields. adults age 85-plus who live alone (as do one-third of those 65-plus). And just wait for the deluge of boomers who will need care. In some cases, the tracking devices are becoming cool.

Fike is seeing a lot of what she calls "connected independence" technologies, which include activity sensors that give adult children insight into their parents' daily activities and tools that let family caregivers be part of doctors' appointments remotely. A child might have a GPS watch that keeps tabs on him in the mall, while adults proudly sport activity wristbands to track their exercise and food.

Who uses it: Laura Reeves' father-in-law, who has Alzheimer's disease, takes 18 pills a day.

He had been skipping some doses or popping too many.

The adult child logs onto the Web, remotely programs the schedule and can see if the user has complied.

The dispenser flashes (if locked, it unlocks) when it's pill time, then beeps if the medicine's not taken. A prerecorded voice from, say, a grandchild, reminds Grandma to take them.

One type is locked until it's time for medication; the other is unlocked.