How Smart Home Technology Can Benefit Your Senior Loved One
The concept of “aging-in-place” is becoming remarkably popular lately, especially among Boomers who wish to maintain their independence as they grow older. The idea behind aging-in-place is to adapt your current home to suit your needs as you age, rather than moving to an assisted living facility.
Even as early as a decade ago, aging-in-place wasn’t an idea that gave many families peace of mind. Today, however, smart technology has advanced to a point that makes this new option not just acceptable, but comfortable for everyone. Here are just a few ways smart home technology can benefit your elderly loved one:
Fall Alerts (Both the Wearable Kind & Smart Home Sensors)
For the past few decades, wearable fall alert buttons have become extremely popular for our elderly loved ones. After all, accidental falls account for a majority of injuries that happen to people over the age of 65, and any fall can become fatal if not attended to quickly. Life Alert popularized these personal emergency response systems, which have become essential to the lives of seniors living alone.
As years have passed, this technology has only gotten more and more advanced, allowing for quicker response times and an increased amount of people who can be notified after a fall, as well as smaller, easier to wear designs.
However, wearable fall alerts aren’t 100% foolproof. If an accident occurs and the button is not pressed for whatever reason, help may not arrive in time.
Fortunately, there’s an even more thorough alternative to personal emergency response systems. Smart home sensor systems use wireless technology to monitor the daily activities and movements of your loved one in real time. If you install a sensor by his bed, for example, you’ll be able to keep track of when he wakes up and when he goes to bed. These systems help families follow the routines of their elderly loved ones; sudden changes to your loved one’s daily movements or activities will alert you that something could have happened, all without intrusive cameras or microphones or any buttons to press.
Like a wireless home protection system, having such an intricate and thorough sensor system monitoring your elderly loved one’s home simply eases any worries you may have that stem from allowing them to age-in-place in their own home.
Smart Screens (Video Doorbell, Touch Screens, Tech That Connects to Smartphones)
As we grow older, simple tasks can become tedious and difficult. Writing on buttons becomes more difficult to read, dials become more difficult to turn, and doors become more difficult to open.
While the stereotype is that elderly individuals have incredible difficulty operating computers, the reality is that the elderly benefit the most from smart screen technology. The bright screens, simple layouts, and ability to increase the size of the font help make touchscreens one of the most helpful additions to any age-in-place home. A lot of thermostats, security alarms, and phones already have touch screens, but with the rise of smart technology, everything from your television to your refrigerator can come equipped with one, as well.
For those who have elderly loved ones who find it difficult to move or walk, tablets have become essential to aging-in-place. Certain electronics around the house can connect to the tablet and be operated from anywhere in the house. A lot of aging-in-place homes are also equipped with video doorbells, which allow individuals to see who is at their door without having to get up and answer it.
While they may come with a small learning curve for our older loved ones, touchscreen technology has quickly become one of the most effective and efficient tools for those who wish to continue living on their own.
Voice Assistants (Amazon Echo, Google Home, iPad Pro)
If there’s one piece of modern technology that has taken our society by storm, it’s electronic voice assistants. Nearly every home seems to have one of these smart speakers, which are connected to the internet and are capable of answering a seemingly limitless amount of questions.
While we may use them to check the weather or play a song off a playlist, they are capable of doing so much for our elderly loved ones. With a simple vocal phrase, both Amazon’s Echo and Google’s Home can turn on lights, tune into the radio, read an audiobook, set a timer, call a family member or friend, set security systems, control the thermostat, act as an internet search engine, place orders online, and so much more. With adjustable volume settings and the ability to personalize them to your loved one’s voice, voice assistants can be one of the most adaptable and versatile electronics in any age-in-place home.
Obviously, while smart technology will no doubt make life easier for your loved ones, there’s absolutely no replacement for family check-ins and meetings. Routine visits help keep your loved one sharp, able, and most importantly, happy. No amount of technology can replace you.
Compassionate In-Home Care in Frederick & Montgomery Counties, MD
At Advanced Nursing & Home Support, we appreciate that not every family can provide full-time in-home care to their loved ones. That’s why we work hard to find the most skilled, compassionate care providers to serve our clients. We treat your family member as if he were our own, keeping in frequent contact with you. Call today for your free in-home care consultation!