At the speed of light, technology is evolving and installing itself into our homes. The connected home, or the smart home, is popping up everywhere – including the residents of our seniors. Home gadgets are used for its convenience and for its safety factor, especially in the case of an elderly homeowner.
Most connected home products will have some sort of “smart” home security application . A product as an example, are “smart” door locks and garage door controllers. They can be remotely opened, locked and unlocked with video surveillance capability. The “smart” part about these features is that you receive alerts and notifications directly on your mobile device when doors are opened. Smart video surveillance systems have the ability to stream video to remote clients. Perhaps the most important feature when it comes to safety is the alarms that are able to detect smoke or carbon monoxide and send alerts.
Virtual assistant (VA) technology is also utilized in homes. Amazon’s Alexa is used with their Echo smart speaker as well as the Echo Dot, Echo Studio and the Amazon Tap speakers. Amazon’s Echo has Alexa built in. So what can Alexa do that might make your seniors’ lives a little better?
- Play any song/music on demand
- Get the daily news
- Get weather updates
- Listen to books
- Set your ‘smart’ thermostat and lights
- Call friends and loved ones
Some of the drawbacks of using ‘smart’ technology is the cost and the hassle at times. You may have to replace old-school appliances and devices with ‘smart’ modern versions in order for it to become automated.
Medical Alert System
A medical alert system is another way to keep a home well connected. These systems are designed to notify family and emergency responders if there is a medical emergency with the homeowner. More seniors want to age in place, in their own home, but their declining abilities may worry family members. A medical alert system offers peace of mind for loved ones, as well as those who need looking after.
If you have an elderly loved one at home, especially alone, a medical alert system is great for safety and security. Typically, there’s an accessible button for the senior to press if they need help, and the alert goes out to a designated responder who could be a family member, friend, caregiver or the ambulance. Buttons are waterproof, so it can be worn as a pendant or bracelet in the shower. Two-way communication is also a standard with these systems; a voice will come on to assess what the emergency is and send out an appropriate response team.
An excellent feature for those wheel-chair bound or use walkers in the home, is the automatic fall detection feature. Not all alert systems have this, so keep an eye out for this option if this is something you want for your senior. This feature can detect a fall and automatically activates an emergency call. Some versions of these systems also feature GPS, allowing family members to be able to locate a senior if the latter goes out and gets lost.
Check out this great link on the 3 highest rated medical alert systems in Canada, along with reviews on a comprehensive selection of other systems. It does get overwhelming with the options available. But a little Google research can steer you to some great products to help your senior family members age in the place that they love.