We often think of technology in terms of cool gadgets that entertain us, but technology also can help seniors have a better quality of life for a longer period of time.
Smart devices in homes are allowing many retirees to enjoy a better retirement lifestyle and older adults to safely age in place. If you or your loved one hope to live independently for years to come, smart devices can improve how your home functions.
Here are some of the key benefits of upgrading to a smart home for seniors.
Devices like smart locks, doorbells and security systems can monitor the surroundings inside or outside a home, transmitting video and updated alerts via a mobile app that seniors, caregivers and family members can access remotely. Smart home safety devices also can trigger alerts to emergency services if an alarm goes off for a set period of time or if they detect suspicious activity. In this way, these technologies not only enable a smart home for seniors, but a safer home, especially if they live alone.
Products like smart and voice-activated thermostats, smoke detectors, lighting and home assistants make it easier for seniors to navigate their home. Smart thermostats can learn a senior's preferences and behavior patterns and automatically adjust the temperature in the home at different times of day. Smart lighting can turn on and off automatically when it senses motion in a room, which can reduce trip and fall hazards for seniors.
A smart home assistant can serve as a central hub to control other technologies in the home, including smart lights, thermostats, TVs, home security systems, refrigerators and other appliances. These solutions are often voice-activated, so if a senior has mobility issues, they can still take advantage of these tools to automate certain tasks and save time.
3. Better Health
From blood pressure and heart rate monitors to medication reminders and wearable devices, seniors can use smart technologies to engage more in their own health. These devices are often connected to a central platform and securely share data with a senior's doctor or health care provider, allowing these clinicians to monitor the person's vitals or health status remotely.
With smart digital health tools, seniors also can receive email or phone notifications about when they need to take their medication next, when they should schedule a follow-up appointment with their doctor, or even when their blood glucose or blood pressure readings are too low — signaling they should probably seek medical attention.
Wearable devices, such as smart emergency-contact systems, can send an alert to a designated contact when a senior trips or falls. In some cases, the technology can automatically contact 911 or EMS, or allow a user to do so by clicking a button or via voice activation. This can ensure a senior gets timely medical care.
4. Increased Mobility and Accessibility
A smart home can increase mobility and accessibility for older seniors who want to age in place. Products like robot vacuums, voice-activated and remote-controlled appliances, and other home automation solutions can help seniors continue to live independently. For example, remote-controlled blinds and keyless entry locks can allow seniors to easily control different features in their home.
For seniors who may have a vision or hearing impairment or deal with arthritis, smart devices also make it possible for them to do routine, everyday tasks without the assistance of a family member or caregiver, letting them retain a sense of independence and control.
5. Staying Connected and Entertained
Smart technologies can help seniors stay connected to loved ones, too. Voice-activated smart home assistants and speakers can make calls with a simple voice command from a user — for example: "Call the grandkids." These devices can also play music, provide information about local events and movie times, or even read an audiobook. A smart TV offers many of the same capabilities and allows seniors to access on-demand content and entertainment right from home. Even something as simple as the video chat feature on a smartphone is just another example of how smart devices can empower seniors to stay active and engaged.
Making Homes Smarter for Seniors
Smart technologies offer a range of benefits that can help seniors age in place and enjoy an active retirement lifestyle, including greater accessibility, convenience, safety and entertainment. With just a few devices and clicks of a button, it's now simple to transform your home into a smart home. Combine that transformation with additional home improvements for seniors and they can live a happier, healthier life where they're most comfortable.