Did you know that technologies used in home automation, also known as smart homes, can help seniors in their daily lives?
Indeed, connected objects can help seniors maintain their independence and security in their apartment, home or retirement home.
The medical alert bracelet: the first-level connected object
The medical alert bracelet that detects falls is certainly one of the connected objects most used by seniors. These bracelets have evolved a lot; today some models incorporate a GPS, which allows to quickly locate the elderly person who needs assistance.
For example, a person with Alzheimer’s who is lost could use a medical alert bracelet with GPS to get help. But beyond the medical alert bracelet, seniors now have access to a multitude of technologies that can help them and simplify their daily lives.
What are the benefits for an older person to have a smart home?
Home automation offers three main benefits for the elderly:
- Comfort – It’s possible to control the lighting in your home or apartment and control room temperature with the thermostat from your mobile phone, tablet or smart speaker.
- Entertainment – Smart TVs or devices like Apple TV become powerful entertainment centres that offer a varied and “a la carte” offering.
- Security – The smart home will also allow you to control your alarm system, the lock of your home or see who rings your doorbell using a smart doorbell.
How do you introduce the idea of using connected objects to the elderly?
Your parents may not be familiar with new technologies. Accompany them not only in the acquisition of these devices but also in their set-up. Take the opportunity to involve your children in this process, which will allow them to spend time with their grandparents while helping them.
Add one or two connected objects at a time. For example, you can start by installing a doorbell that is connected to your door, installing smart light bulbs or setting up a smart thermostat.
Home automation helps seniors stay in their homes or make their retirement home apartments more secure
Health care is one of the main benefits of home automation for seniors. We mentioned previously in this text the benefits of using a medical alert bracelet with GPS. There are also simpler technologies that are available, such as a smartphone app that can remind seniors to take their medication. These apps will minimize the risk that your elderly parents will forget to take their medication. This type of application also exists in smart speakers.
Home automation also helps seniors stay safe in their homes. Often, people with memory loss have trouble performing certain tasks, such as turning off the lights or turning off the oven. Many security companies specialize in transmitting alerts that are sent to seniors and designated family members when a device reveals unusual activity.
Automatic lights and lamps can reduce the risk of falls for seniors
One of the risk factors for senior night falls is poor lighting conditions at home. A fall can cause serious injury to a senior. Motion sensors and smart bulbs such as those offered by Ikea (TRADFRI) or Phillips (Hue) reduce the risk of falling by turning on the lights when a movement is detected.
Smart lighting offers a number of ways to improve the lighting control of the home or apartment of seniors. These include centralized lighting controls on a device such as a smartphone or smart speaker. From these devices, it is possible to create a schedule that will allow connected objects in the smart home to be turned on or off.
For seniors with mobility problems, smart speakers minimize travel needs
For seniors, one of the benefits of smart speakers like the Google Home or Amazon Echo is that they can control the lighting of the house or apartment, listen to the radio and music, make a phone call or use Google voice commands, without having to move.
For example, to make a call anywhere in Canada and the U.S. for free from Google Home, just dictate the phone number you want to call. Just say, “OK Google, call 514555…”. Immediately, the device will make the call and it will function as a hands-free system. Once your call is over, just say “OK Google, hang up” or “finish the call.”
These voice control features can be very useful for seniors with reduced mobility or disabilities. In addition to being used as a phone, if you have smart speakers in multiple rooms, they can be used as InterComm.
Home automation technologies that turn your home into a smart home are still very much unknown. However, they offer many benefits to seniors and their families. When used well, these technologies allow seniors to have more independence and to reassure their children and loved ones.