Smart appliances and automated systems used to be trendy innovations associated with cutting-edge workplaces and commercial environments. Over time, however, they’ve grown affordable and versatile enough to become commonplace within residential settings as well.
If you are looking for ways to make your aging loved one more secure and comfortable at home, there are a number of senior-friendly technological solutions to help. Ultimately, these tools can also help older adults maintain their independence and autonomy for a longer period of time.
Smart Home Essentials for Seniors
Although the term “smart home” can be a bit intimidating, especially for those who are just now coming around to modern technology, it simply involves individual items and entire systems designed to ease your life. As you’re setting up your older parent’s home or apartment in an assisted or independent living community in Federal Way, think about their daily routine and the areas of life that would benefit from automation or support. Then you can select the right devices, networks and tools to integrate into their home.
Since most of these systems are able to be controlled remotely from a smartphone, you can even set up the system to discreetly monitor and assist your loved one when needed. Here is a look at some of the best smart home tech solutions to help seniors comfortably age in place or at a retirement community:
1. Smart Security System
Safety and security are high priorities for older adults when it comes to smart-home technology. There are several security systems that can be managed with a smartphone app or using voice commands. Some top providers of security systems include ADT, Vivint and SimpliSafe. There’s also Ring Alarm, a five-piece kit that is easy to install. The basic system connects a keypad, motion detector and door/window sensor. You can add other accessories, such as a bedside panic button and additional sensors and keypads. The system offers both self-monitoring and professional monitoring modes. For security, you may also want to set up your older adult with video doorbells that allow you to remotely screen visitors. As an extra gift, consider giving them a device like Passwords Fast to store passwords for all their Internet accounts and integrated smart system.
2. Home Safety Devices
Another innovation that can support the safety of your loved one is a system that features leak-detection sensors and automatic water shutoff valves for flood prevention. You also can install smart smoke detectors that issue helpful voice instructions and text alerts in case of an emergency. For example, Google Nest Protect features a smoke and carbon monoxide alarm that warns of impending danger by both siren and voice. Additionally, it sends smartphone alerts to up to six contacts.
3. Smart Speakers and Systems
Smart speakers or virtual assistants, like Google Home and Amazon Echo, benefit seniors in numerous ways. First, these voice-control systems allow you to command other compatible smart home devices. You can tell the voice assistant to turn off the lights or set an alarm, which is especially useful if your loved one has limited mobility, eyesight or dexterity. Some seniors even find that talking to Alexa, the name given to Echo’s AI assistant, helps alleviate loneliness and isolation. It’s sort of like having your own friendly household assistant to play the songs you request, add items to your grocery list, and remind your to take your medications at the right time or head to your doctor's appointment.
4. Smart Lighting
Smart lighting—which encompasses in-wall switches and dimmers and LED bulbs—gives you a few key benefits, such as the ability to turn lights off and on by a smartphone, put your lights on a schedule or set them to be triggered by movement. Hands-free and fully automated, smart lighting increase safety and independence for older adults. You can integrate smart tech solutions for lighting into your whole home or focus on a few key areas, such as dark entryways, hallways and stairways.
5. Appliance Automation
To further enhance safety and convenience at your loved one’s home, consider installing smart plugs with timers for devices like space heaters and fans, to help ensure they turn off and on at the right time. Smart sensors can also be added to various spots throughout your house. For example, you can put one on the refrigerator door to help your senior remember when to eat. Another on the window can alert you if it was left open. There’s also the iGaurd Stove, a wifi-enabled add-on that monitors stove use and motion in the kitchen. It is capable of shutting off the stove automatically after a set amount of time, or you can program it manually to stay on if you’re cooking stew or something that requires a longer amount of time. These types of smart sensors and monitors can be tied into a specific platform or security system and integrated with other smart devices.
Setting Up Home for Your Senior in Federal Way
Aging comfortably and safely, whether at home or in assisted living, is a viable option for your older parent or loved one. However, it may require the implementation of simple tools and smart tech to establish optimal functionality and long-lasting comfort. Village Green Retirement Campus has a variety of floorplans for both its assisted and independent living housing. You can help your loved one select the type of housing that best supports their lifestyle needs and then integrate smart technology to further enhance their comfort and security.