The promise of smart home technology goes well beyond added convenience and lowered costs. New technologies are making homes significantly safer for you and your parents. With so many new products on the market, we wanted to help you by sharing our view on 5 new smart home products that we believe actually make a dramatic difference to senior safety, are easy to use and have a high likelihood of being used.
5 New Smart Technologies Enhancing Senior Safety
1. The Home Hub
The new home hubs now available from the likes of Google, allow you to control your home in one view, through voice or touch commands. They're a step up from personal voice response systems like the Amazon Dot or Echo. With home hubs, you can control thousands of connected devices in your home from one screen, including your lights, thermostats, vacuum cleaner, TV, door locks, and phone. Not only that, from the same screen you'll be able see and control your schedule and appointments, get reminders, see the weather, listen to the news, books and your favorite music!
Smart home hubs can be a god send to senior safety, because they can enable seniors to do things they might otherwise avoid, access things that might otherwise be out of reach and remind them of critical things to do.
2. Smart Stove Turn-Off
How many times have you forgot to turn off the oven or stove? No matter your age, it's likely happened to you at one point or another (last year I boiled the pot along with the chicken soup!).
Now there are several smart products that will actually turn-off your stove or oven. Some technologies are time based, activity based or smoke alarm based. Use the one that's easiest to use and best suited for you or your loved one. This is especially useful if you have a parent with slight memory loss or absent mindedness, but is otherwise independent.
3. Smart Lights
Nearly one in three seniors fall EVERY year, making it the leading cause of injury among older adults. It causes more broken hips, concussions and deaths than any other injury.
Most falls happen in and around the home, and one of the biggest factors is poor lighting. Poor lighting causes seniors to trip over wires, clothing, furniture, or to miss the first or last step of the stairs.
Smart lights allow you to turn the lights on without having to cross the room in the dark to flip the switch. Simply tell your home hub or personal digital assistant to turn the bedroom or hallway lights on or off with a voice command, or do it from your cell phone and you're done.
Place as many smart lights as you can throughout your loved one's home, installing extra lights if need be, especially in hallways and stairways. The brighter the better. Avoid the need for standing lamps where possible.
4. Smart Medication Dispensers
Medication compliance is a huge issue for seniors. Many folks take up to 8 pills, 4 times a day. Taking the right pills, in the right dosages, at the right times is confusing. Layer in forgetfulness, poor vision and arthritic hands and the task can become monumental.
Smart medication dispensers and reminders will remind your parents when to take their pills, with a sounding alarm. It will also allow you to organize their medications with up to 6 dispenses a day. If they forget to take their pills, you can even be notified, adding an extra layer of protection.
5. Remote cameras
Seniors are more vulnerable than most. They're often alone, rely on others and have physical or cognitive impairments. This leaves them open to physical, emotional, verbal and financial abuse. Having cameras in your parents home, with audio, especially if they have visiting caregivers, nurses, therapists or social workers, can be a crucial safety measure.
Let everyone know the cameras are recording their actions and their voices. This will help act as a deterrent and dissuade bad actors from misbehaving in the first place, making your parents much, much safer.
While some seniors may look at it as too intrusive, it may give your mom or dad the added comfort and security of knowing you're always looking after them. Caregivers should welcome the technology because it provides them protection from being falsely accused of wrongdoing, avoiding legal and reputational liability.
Hopefully you find these smart home products helpful. If you have any new or innovative products you think would be helpful to seniors, let us know, we'd love to hear from you and share with everyone! Stay safe folks!