Smart home technology can go a long way toward making life better for our parents and senior loved ones, but you don’t want to waste your money on tech your loved one never bothers to use, or something that doesn’t make their lives easier or safer in any discernible way.
Learn more about the five main types of smart technology devices that will make a difference in senior safety.
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If you’re new to smart technology, then you may not yet realize that before you can start benefitting from most individual smart home products, you need to purchase a product that will get them all on the same system.
For seniors who are uncomfortable with the idea of figuring out a large number of different apps, getting a smart home assistant like Amazon Echo or Google Home will give you one product you can link all your other smart tech back to and make voice control an option for most of the products you buy.
For many seniors, being able to turn a product on and off with voice commands will be more intuitive and useful than having to find their phone, identify the right app on it and make the change through the app every time they need to use the product.
Take some time to do your research here and consider the other types of products you’ll want and the compatible options for each before making your decision.
Many families struggle with finding the right balance between giving an aging senior their independence and still making sure they get the level of care they need. Smart home sensors are a tool that can help stretch the length of time seniors can live on their own, while giving loved ones a way to keep tabs and make sure they stay safe.
Smart home sensors for seniors often have a component that makes it easy for the senior to call for help if there’s an emergency. They typically also provide a way to track ongoing activities like how often the senior moves through certain rooms or opens the refrigerator, in order to give loved ones a quick indication if their daily habits change. That way, if your loved one starts to experience depression or an illness that keeps them from being as active as usual or eating a healthy amount, you get an early notice that’s something’s awry that you should look into.
Falls are the number one cause of injury in seniors. One-third of seniors fall every year and 2.3 million of them end up in the emergency room because of a fall. It’s a serious issue.
One way you can reduce your parent or senior loved one’s risk of a fall is to make sure good lighting is installed throughout their home and that they can always easily turn on a light from wherever they are. For that last part, that means never having to walk across a dark room to get to the light switch.
Smart lights can be turned on with a smartphone app or, if connected to a smart home assistant, with a voice command. Having an easy way to turn on the light before getting up from the couch or getting out of bed at night — without having to stumble toward an inconveniently placed switch — can make a big difference to how safe a senior is when moving through their own home after dark.
Make sure that when you are setting up smart lights for your loved one, you program them with voice commands that will be easy to remember and then train your loved one on what exactly they need to say. Remember to address “Alexa” or “Google” before each command and to use the right voice command for the specific room.
It’s unfortunate that the time in life when you’re likely to need the most medication is also the time in life when your memory’s most likely to fail. Seniors frequently have a number of meds they have to try and remember to take at specific times throughout the day and often the stakes are high. Forgetting to take a particular pill, or taking one at the wrong time when it could interact badly with another, could lead to serious health complications.
Smart medication dispensers like MedMinder and Reminder Rosie automate the process of getting the right pills to your loved one at the right time, every day. Some smart medication products will also alert you if your loved one fails to take a med at the right time so you can step in and contact them directly about it.
You don’t have to have an aging brain or dementia diagnosis to forget to turn off the oven from time to time. It’s easy to do and potentially really dangerous! That’s why one of the most useful smart tech items for seniors, especially any senior that likes to cook, is a smart stove shutoff device.
There are a number of smart stove shutoff products that will automatically turn the stove off if it’s been left on for too long. Some work by using a simple timer (after a certain amount of time, it goes off), some provide more sophisticated features like an automatic shutoff that’s triggered when the smoke alarm goes off, a motion detector that senses when you’re in the room and phone alerts letting you know when the stove’s been on for a while.
Whichever product you go with, installing a smart stove shutoff device can keep your loved one’s home safer, even as they continue cooking their favorite foods.
We hope that these five smart home tech devices can help you monitor your parents and help your senior loved ones stay independent longer without risking their safety.
Has your family used any of the smart tech devices for senior safety listed above? What other smart tech devices would you add to this list? We’d like to hear your suggestions in the comments below.