According to the Census, 15% of the population in Birmingham, AL is of age 65 and older. About 27% of seniors in the United States are living alone. Do you have worries or doubts about something dangerous happening to your elderly parents or other family members living on their own? Renovating your senior’s home with smart home technology can benefit them and increase their quality of life.
Smart home technology has become more and more popular with modern homeowners, especially with current adult generations and Millenials. Older generations may feel intimidated or look at smart technology as another gadget they need to learn, but this statement is far from the truth.
Smart technology is for anybody and everybody!
Here are 3 benefits to upgrading your elder parents’ or loved one’s homes with smart home technology:
- Get organized and stay connected
- Simplify daily activities and tasks with automation
- Security and safety
1.) Get Organized and Stay Connected
The most common excuse used by seniors is that they are “technologically challenged.” The technological advancement and changes in smart technology can seem overwhelming on the outside. However, more and more smart devices are created with a focus on user-friendliness and accessibility; anybody can use a smartphone or smart technology.
As user-friendly as devices have become, compatibility and integration have also advanced over time. There used to be a time where you had a controller for every device imaginable in your home. Now, smart hubs such as Control4, Google Home, and Amazon Echo have taken the guesswork out of figuring out what controls which device. These smart hubs are a central control system for other smart devices that can be controlled at a single location.
Voice Command and Virtual Assistants
One of the coolest functions of many smart devices is the ability to control them hands-free. For example, with voice command features, you can control your smart hub to turn off lights in another room, start the laundry with a smart washing machine, or make sure the smart oven is turned off right before you go to bed. How cool is that?
Voice command features work both ways, meaning it’s not just you talking to it; it communicates back with you. You can have it remind your forgetful elders of their medical appointments and when to take their medications.
Your elders can call you or anybody with a simple voice command such as “Alexa, call the ambulance,” or “Siri, reply to Jordan’s text.” So, stay connected with your loved ones with ease and comfort, knowing if anything happens, they will still be able to call for help.
2.) Simplify Daily Activities and Tasks with Automation
There is always a “brain” to the operation, the hub for every smart home automation. The smart hub controls tasks that are preprogrammed to trigger with a certain condition. For example, when the sun sets the hub will notice the time and trigger the lights in the family room to turn on.
The smart hub is like a controller that can be used through a device or voice command. Think of the smart hub as a personal virtual assistant that won’t be able to help you in physical assistance but can have conversations and tell occasional jokes.
Smart hubs like Control4 or Alexa can be preprogrammed to:
- Remind the elderly to take medication
- Set appointments and reminders
- Turn on or start smart appliances
- Secure the home
And so much more, like…
Light Control Systems
Light control systems are simple yet energy-efficient smart technology that requires little effort to install into any senior home. No more stumbling in the dark or tripping over cords! The lights can be turned on with a voice command or a wave of the hand (motion sensor).
The lights are voice-activated or turned on when the sensor detects movements like a wave or a person entering the room. The light will turn off automatically after a set time. For example, outdoor lights could be preprogrammed to turn on after sunset and turn off at sunrise.
Not only does this help save costs in utilities for fixed-income seniors but at the same time, this also helps reduce energy waste.
Water Control Systems
Smart homes can be programmed to learn your habits and daily routines. For instance, if your plants get watered a certain amount at a specific time out of the week, the water control systems or sprinkler systems can be pre-programmed to do the task for you instead of hiring someone to take care of it or having your elder adult try to do the task themselves and something happen to them.
3) Security and Safety
Security and safety for anybody are important. However, the safety of your older family members, especially those suffering from Dementia or Alzheimer’s, is in fear of something bad happening to them or worse, losing them and not being able to find them.
How Do You Monitor Seniors Living Alone?
Motion detection sensors are usually associated with light control systems or security systems, but motion sensors can help the most when monitoring your senior family members.
The core function of motion detection is that the sensor identifies motion within its radius and triggers the following command. An example would be you walk into a room, and the lights automatically turn on, and when it senses no movement within a time frame, it turns the lights off. Motion sensors like these are often used in public bathrooms so that the lights are on when people use them, but turn off when no one is there.
How Can Motion Sensors Help Your Senior Family Members?
There are numerous things you can do with smart detection devices with a bit of creativity. For instance, you could install the motion sensor under the bed of your elder. If they fall off the bed, the motion sensor will trigger a notification to your phone or notify a home visit nurse that the elder has fallen.
Some senior homes and hospitals use motion sensors for when the patient or elder has fallen off the bed or try to leave a room when they shouldn’t. Family members with Alzheimer’s can relate to their loved ones gone missing. A motion sensor can detect movement at night and trigger a command to the smart locks installed in the house to lock the doors which can not be unlocked without a code, at the same time notifying yourself or the home visit nurse to check on the senior.
Vital Monitoring with Health Alert Bracelets
Health alert bracelets such as Life Alert or Medical Guardian are health monitoring devices that secure themselves around the wrist. This smart technology monitors heart rate, activity levels, and other medical information as well as notifying the emergency contact when abnormal data is collected. These monitoring devices can also alert local emergency medical authorities in life-threatening situations, even when the elderly wearing the device are unconscious. Health alert bracelets can be synced with smart hubs to store data weekly where it can be sent to doctors for review if necessary.
Health alert bracelets are great for monitoring not only the vital health of the wearer but also their location. With many of them having a GPS locator, you can have peace of mind in knowing where your loved ones are.
Upgrading Home to Accomidate Seniors Living on Their Own
The investment in smart home devices will be dependent on the outcome you want for your home, and the budget allocated to reach the desired home automation. We can help you make sure that every dollar you do spend on your smart home is invested in quality tech performing at the highest standards.
If you are considering home automation, check out our services to know more about the type of automation we provide. Feel free to reach out to us to help you get started with your home automation project.