Age-in-Place Safely with these Smart Home Devices for Seniors

By: VGFS
Friday, May 17, 2019

At any age, there’s no place quite like home. For adults approaching retirement age and beyond, aging-in-place for as long as possible is becoming more common.

The rising costs of medical care and assisted living facilities is one driver behind this trend. Additionally, aging-in-place provides older individuals with autonomy, an important component of mental health. But seniors can’t always do it alone. Chronic health or memory issues, declining vision, increased use of medication, and decreased mobility impact many seniors. As a result, they may require more support in order to stay safe and healthy while living at home. As time goes on, family members, friends and hired caregivers may need to play a more prominent role in supporting a senior’s independence. For aging adults, there are a number of smart home devices can help make aging-in-place safer and more manageable in the long-term.

Seniors living alone aren’t the only ones who benefit. Using smart home technology, caregivers can connect to seniors’ smart devices to help manage their medications and to check in on their loved ones. There are many positives to caregiving, but the responsibility can invite resentment from both parties and take a toll on both mental and physical health. Below, we’ve shared some helpful information about  home devices that can help make aging-in-place safer and provide much-needed peace of mind and respite for caregivers.

Smart Home Speakers

If access to WiFi isn’t an issue, smart home speakers can be a good choice to help seniors who living alone maintain their autonomy. Smart speakers are hands-free and obey voice commands, so they are very compatible with users who have vision or mobility challenges. These interactive smart devices can make calls to friends, family members, and businesses, look up information, provide companionship, and give medication reminders. Each comes with a virtual assistant, such as Siri (Apple), Google Assistant (Google), or Alexa (Amazon). They can also act as a smart home hub that can control all other connected devices. Smart speakers come in at a variety of price points, including a number of very affordable models. Try the Third Generation Amazon Echo Dot with Alexa Voice Assistant ($30) or the Google Home Mini with built-in Google Assistant ($29).

There’s an App for That

There are a variety of free apps that can make smart home speakers work harder. Caregivers can download and set up the apps once and seniors can then use them going forward. Currently, smart assistants can’t call 911, but there are apps that can notify friends or family members in the case of an emergency. There are also apps that track and share health information with family members, friends, and caregivers.

Smoke Alarm Smart Battery

In the U.S. alone, fires destroy thousands of lives and homes each year. With the Roost Smart Battery, you can retrofit an existing smoke alarm into a smart alarm. Coming in around $35, this smart battery lasts for 3-5 years and sends alerts whenever the smoke alarm goes off to loved ones with connected devices.

Smart Light Switches

Trips and falls are the leading cause of serious injury and even accidental death in seniors. Many falls can be avoided with better lighting. A smart light switch allows seniors to have remote control over their lighting. Control lamps and overhead lights from anywhere—the bed, couch, even when away from home. Your loved one will never have to enter a dark room or house again! The Leviton Decora Smart Home Dimmers and Switches, for example, work with any iOS or Android device, including smart home products that follow voice commands. With smart switches, you won’t have to replace existing light bulbs, providing a cost-effective and convenient alternative to purchasing all new smart lightbulbs. Be sure to shop around for the best price for smart lighting, as the costs can vary widely by retailer.

Smart Security Cameras

Smart security cameras protect the home and offer caregivers peace of mind. While some smart security cameras can be costly, the EZViz Mini O 1080p is an extremely affordable home security option for seniors living on a budget. This smart security camera works well in both day and nighttime conditions and is designed for a quick and easy install. Offering a generous wide angle lens, it also acts as a two-way intercom that caregivers and loved ones can even tap into remotely. When you activate the motion sensors, the device takes pictures and sends an alert to your smartphone (or a caretaker’s) whenever motion is detected.

Smart Home Locks

To ramp up home security, try a smart home door lock. They come in at a variety of price points and can be controlled by smart assistants and other smart devices, motion sensors, voice control, or through keyless entry. Smart home door locks also have the ability to lock automatically to keep seniors with memory conditions safe inside, offering caregivers extra peace of mind.

Location and Fall Detection Pendant

Every second counts when a senior goes missing or falls. Smart location devices with fall detection can help locate elderly loved ones quickly.  LifeFone offers a waterproof, light-weight pendant necklace that comes with a two-way speaker. A plus is that connectivity is included in the monthly price. Plans start as low as $39.99/month, and an additional $5/month for fall detection.

If your senior loved one is averse to new technology, consider easing him or her in slowing through helpful, easy-to use devices like the Jitterbug cell phone or the LifeAlert call button. You can also find training for those in need, as well as low-cost internet connection services, at everyoneon.org. Lifeline is a federal program that lowers the monthly cost of phone and internet.

If you have questions about smart home devices or other ways to age-in-place safely, please contact us. Our compassionate, caring team is always happy to help.

About Vaughn Greene Funeral Services: For more than 20 years, Vaughn Greene Funeral Services has been providing a ministry of care to Baltimore’s African American community. As a leading local, minority- and family-owned provider, we promise to provide our highest level of service and respect to families who entrust us to honor their loved one. For more information, please call us at 410.655.0015 or visit us online at https://vaughncgreene.com/.

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