How Smart Home Technology Can Help Seniors Live More Independently -
330 views | March 22, 2021

How Smart Home Technology Can Help Seniors Live More Independently

The topic of independent living can be a tough conversation to have with aging parents. Learn the benefits smart home devices have which help make it easier for the family to stay in touch with parents or grandparents.

Smart home technology and the modern gadgets that accompany it have proven a great benefit to older adults.

It has always been a tough decision on how to care for older family members. Whether they’re cared for in a nursing facility or an attendant looks after them at home, the anxiety persists. Have they taken their medication? Have they returned from their evening walk? Did they forget to lock the front door?

It may be for reasons like this that the number of older adults (over 65) living alone has been on the decline.1 But smart home technology has made independent living possible for seniors. This technology offers many things that can make seniors’ lives more comfortable as they remain in their own homes.

How to Assist the Elderly with Home Technology

Many older adults prefer the comfort of home rather than assisted living. But anyone with aging loved ones knows it’s not always possible to allow them to age in place. However, technologies such as smart home devices and artificial intelligence can promote independent living. This technology may even improve the mental and physical health of those living alone. 2

When it comes to independent living, a lot more is being done for the elderly, given that we have the technological devices to support an independent lifestyle. These smart devices have amazing features and functions that enhance a smart home, and can help older adults live more independently.

Some of the best smart home devices for independent living seniors are smart cameras, smart door locks, smart garage doors, video doorbells, voice assistants, and even IoT devices for the elderly. These devices provide home automation, voice control activation, and convenience.

Smart Home Devices Suitable For Independent Living

Smart home technology is the best way to support independent living, especially for senior citizens. The following list of smart devices* may be beneficial to some seniors living independently.

1. Smart Camera

Smart cameras are beneficial to at-home seniors and family members. Smart security camera installation around the home can allow the family to watch over loved ones, literally. These cameras can serve as both security and safety cameras. They connect to Wi-Fi, and the live video feed can be monitored from any smartphone, tablet, or Wi-Fi-enabled device. Smart cameras have made keeping an eye on parents and grandparents easier.

What’s even better is that several smart cameras feature two-way audio, allowing people to converse from both ends of the camera. No need to call; speak to them through the smart cam. Some models also include alert notifications sent straight to smartphones whenever movement is detected.

Samsung SmartThings Cam

This smart cam delivers live video in HD quality, including night vision and two-way audio. Its motion sensor technology can differentiate between a person and an object, ruling out false alert notifications. These cameras are easy to install, and for full home-coverage, add on its smart hub to access multiple cameras at a time.

2. Voice Assistant

Voice assistants are a great addition to any senior’s home. This device can help alleviate the stress about whether a family member living alone has remembered to take their medication.

Voice assistants feature voice-activated daily reminders. Whether it is reminders for medication, doctor’s appointments, or a grandchild’s birthday, this is the device that every independent living senior should own.

It can set reminders for repeated tasks, at scheduled timings, and in a familiar voice too. That’s right; users can set the voice according to family members instead of a standard auto-tuned one. Voice assistants are not challenging to install and operate.

Google Home Assistant Smart Speaker

This voice-activated assistant can update the latest weather, traffic, finance, news, sports, and more. Users can ask for translations, calculations, nutrition information, and unit conversions. It can help manage schedules, set reminders, place calls, and more, precisely the type of help an independent senior may need.

The user’s voice can also control the thermostat, dim the lights, turn off the TV, and even fire up the coffee maker in the morning with other compatible smart home devices.

3. Video Doorbell

Video doorbells are perfect for the safety and convenience of older people. Instead of walking to the front door, they can quickly check whose outside from a smart screen.

Video doorbells ensure independent living seniors never miss a visitor or a package. The images on these devices are crystal clear, and the sound comes through loud and clear thanks to the HD speaker and microphone.

Google Nest Hello – Video Doorbell

Google Nest Hello is the perfect video doorbell to install at the front door. Its wide-angle camera view shows a person from head to toe, and its two-way talk feature allows users to speak to visitors at the door, all from a phone or tablet.

The Nest Hello sends notifications to smartphones and tablets, making it much easier for older people to check their phones instead of getting up.

4. Smart Garage Door Opener

A smart garage door is an excellent device for older people that drive. This device allows users to open and close the door from anywhere on a mobile device – great for forgetful drivers. Check to make sure the garage door is closed from the grocery store or the doctor’s office. The smart garage door opener may help seniors feel more secure at home through mobile alerts and set schedules when the garage door opens and closes.

myQ Smart Garage Hub

The myQ Smart Garage Hub by Chamberlain is an excellent device that can be added to most existing garage doors. It’s compatible with most brands of garage door openers made after 1993, including Chamberlain, Craftsman, Lift Master, Stanley, and more. The garage door must be sectional and have safety sensors installed. With the myQ garage opener, a mobile device, Wi-Fi connection, and any compatible garage door opener, independent living seniors can stay connected and in control.

5. Smart Door Locks

The security of aging loved ones is always front and center, and smart door locks are the perfect security device that can provide that peace of mind. Smart door locks are controllable through smartphones and tablets and even voice-activated from a voice assistant. This convenient control means independent living seniors can lock, unlock and check door activity from their phones or tablets or lock and unlock the door with a simple voice command. This convenience also means that concerned families can check whether their loved ones lock the front door at night.

August Smart Lock – 3rd Gen

The August Smart Lock allows users to access the door straight from a mobile device. It sends real-time alerts whenever someone enters or exits the house, and users can check the door’s status, whether it is locked or unlocked. This smart lock allows users to keep the existing lock and keys because it easily attaches to the existing deadbolt, and it’s simple to install.

This lock is Bluetooth-enabled but does require a separate Wi-Fi bridge to enable remote access and voice speaker integrations.

* FirstEnergy Home’s review of this product is solely opinion. FirstEnergy Home did not receive compensation for the review. FirstEnergy Home, and any FirstEnergy affiliates, are not affiliated with the manufacturer of the product, nor is there any endorsement or sponsorship between the product manufacturer of the product and FirstEnergy Home or any of its affiliates.

Smart Device Installation

One of the best aspects of smart home devices is do-it-yourself installation. Most homeowners can accomplish the device installations that require tools. Homeowners with doubt can ask a handy friend or family member to help or hire a professional to help with installation and set up.

A professional can schedule the installation at the convenience of the owner. The installer will connect to the existing Wi-Fi network and perform the first-time setup of the device. The professional technician can even install and set up the mobile app and demonstrate commonly used features.

Conclusion

The topic of independent living can be a tough conversation to have with aging parents. Smart home devices can help . Benefits include convenience, safety, and security. And most of these smart devices allow for remote access, making it easier for the family to stay in touch with parents or grandparents.

It’s important to know that most smart home devices require a stable internet connection and upgrades or maintenance from time to time. And the users adaptability to technology should be taken into account before automating vital aspects of the home.

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1American Psychological Association. By the numbers: Older adults living alone. Retrieved from https://www.apa.org/monitor/2016/05/numbers#:~:text=12%20million,to%2026%20percent%20in%202014.
2National Center for Biotechnology Information. Technology to Support Aging in Place: Older Adults’ Perspectives. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6627975/#:~:text=Technologies%2C%20such%20as%20internet%20of,9%2C10%2C11%5D.

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