For seniors and others with disabilities, living independently at home is extremely important. Nearly 90 percent of seniors say they prefer to age in place, staying in their own homes and communities for as long as it is safe to do so. Unfortunately, the reality is that age, illness and disability often rob the elderly of their ability to handle the day-to-day tasks that independent living requires.
The good news is that home automation may represent a solution. Smart home technologies offer seniors greater control over their homes and surroundings, potentially allowing them to reclaim their independence and live safer, more comfortable lives in their own homes. Here are just a few ways smart technology is making aging in place a reality for more people every day.
Many seniors have problems with mobility, and getting around to change thermostat settings may be a real challenge. With smart thermostats, the settings can be programmed to maintain a comfortable temperature all day long. Some models even include sensors that can automatically turn on the heating or cooling when it detects that someone is present in the room.
Similarly, smart tech can automate many other routine activities as well. Coffee pots can be set to begin brewing at a specific time each morning. Lights, televisions and other electronics can be controlled by simple voice or touch screen commands. Even smart refrigerators can automatically detect when groceries are running low and order a delivery. The capacity for home automation to make life easier and more comfortable for seniors is virtually limitless.
Staying Safe at Home
As the leading cause of accidental death among seniors, falls are a serious concern for the elderly, particularly among those who live independently. Fortunately, smart tech can help. Many available systems use wireless sensors to monitor for falls, immediately sending a call for help if a fall is detected. Some products are also capable of recording a senior’s movements, logging them online so that caregivers and loved ones can check in remotely. Motion-activated lighting is another useful tool for seniors, ensuring that they never stumble dangerously into a darkened room or fumble around for a light switch in the middle of the night.
It’s been known for years that maintaining an active social life leads to a whole host of health benefits, but that isn’t always easy for seniors, particularly those with mobility issues. Smart home technology changes that by placing a variety of social connectivity tools right at seniors’ fingertips. Smart speakers like the Amazon Echo and Google Home make it easy for people of all physical abilities to send and receive emails, place phone calls and check in on social media. Many smart home systems designed for seniors also incorporate easy-to-use video chat features to help elderly homeowners stay in touch with those who matter most to them.
For seniors and their loved ones, security is always paramount when it comes to living independently. Home security systems can take the worry out of living at home while making life safer and more convenient for seniors. Doorbell cameras are a great way for seniors to check on visitors without needing to get up or open the door. Smart cameras can be placed both indoors and outdoors, allowing elderly homeowners to monitor their surroundings and providing caregivers or loved ones a way to check in remotely. Finally, smart locks installed on doors and windows can be set to lock automatically at a specified time, ensuring that seniors never leave their home unsecured.
Aging in place allows many seniors to enjoy happier, more comfortable, more independent lives, but it isn’t without its challenges. Thanks to home automation and other smart technologies, however, more people than ever before are able to live – and thrive – independently in their own homes throughout their golden years.
Written by Beth Kotz