As we are all living longer lives, more and more of us must deal with the challenges associated with being a senior. They could be our own personal challenges or it could be the challenges that our parents who are living longer are facing. Even though many seniors are living longer by staying physically and mentally active and eating the right foods, aging does take a toll on the body.
It could be that it is more difficult to get around or perhaps those memory lapses we all occasionally suffer may be occurring more often. In some cases, it may be necessary to monitor health conditions like blood sugar or blood pressure on a regular basis. Associated with this, there may be a schedule of medications that must be routinely taken. For all of these extra challenges, a Smart Home can make them all easier to handle.
Smart Homes for an easier life
Having a Smart Home can improve the quality of life in many small ways. That is equally true for those of advanced years. You can be in control either through your smart phone or by giving your order through a nearby microphone in your Smart Home system. It could not be easier.
There is nothing more convenient than having a recipe you wish to make displayed on a small screen in your kitchen. Or you can ask your smart assistant to play some favourite music. Your television can be programmed to play your favourite program at the appropriate time. Or you can contact your friends around the world for a video chat or to challenge them in some word game, all by just voice commands. You may even begin to wonder how you could ever live without such assistance.
Many routine tasks can be automated so that merely by voicing a command the home can be locked down for the night or the lights throughout the home can be adjusted. If you need to go to the bathroom during the night, you may be disoriented and fall in the dark. A motion sensor can easily detect your movement and switch on a bedside light to avoid this hazard. New smart devices are being introduced all the time to simplify many of your daily chores.
Seniors sometimes need a helping hand
Everyone of us is jealous of our independence but sometimes there can be challenges. If that helping hand is always there, that could be an intrusion on our independence. This is where a Smart Home can be an advantage for a senior provided it is intelligent enough. You can alert that helping hand without needing to sacrifice your privacy to a human caregiver who is always standing by. In the following sections, we will explore how this can work.
Senior Smart Homes can monitor activities
Memory lapses can occur at any age. However they may come more frequently as you get older. Many seniors will be faced with taking medications perhaps several times a day. Most often if a particular medication is missed, then the benefit of taking it is lost. Monitoring whether a medication has been taken can be done by a motion sensor on the pill container or cupboard. If necessary a timely reminder can easily be arranged with a spoken message or by an alert on the TV within a Smart Home.
You can even be reminded to get up and move around if you have been staying too long in the same position. There are many studies suggesting that prolonged inactivity can itself be a health hazard.
Smart Homes can check hazards
Even the best designed home cannot avoid completely possible hazardous conditions. You start to fill a sink with water and are called away to answer the telephone. In no time at all your floor may be flooded. Or you put a frying pan on the stove and forget about it. Suddenly there are flames as the contents burn.
Such accidents can happen to anyone but a distracted senior may be at greater risk. Simple sensors can monitor such situations and provide alerts or even avoid the hazard.
Smart mobility monitoring
If a senior is finding it slightly more difficult to move around their home, this can easily be detected by comparing the time it takes going from one point to another. Even a slight slowing as compared with the recent past may be an early warning that something is amiss. This can be monitored if a suitable wristband is worn or through a motion detector.
A more violent movement may indicate that someone has suffered a fall. For example if the senior wears an Apple Watch 4, then a fall would give a signal. When such a fall seems to have occurred, contact can be made with a care worker who can check that nothing is amiss.
Smart connections with those who care
The biggest concern for the families of seniors is whether at some time those they care for may need help but may be unable or unwilling to make the contact. If the senior is living in a Smart Home, then for many possibly hazardous incidents there can be a connection to signal a possible need for help. This is not intrusive and in many cases will be a false alarm when all is well. However when there is a real need for help, then making that connection may be critically important. This can even be a video call so that it is clear exactly what has happened. This alone may be the major reason why so many seniors and their caregivers may find a Smart Home is so beneficial.
Further Reading On Senior Smart Homes
The following references give further information on seniors and Smart Homes.