Smart Technologies have provided so much convenience in our everyday life and our everyday tasks. They are no longer just phones and watches or computers- they now act as our personal assistants and even security officers for our house and home. So with all this potential, can smart home devices help senior citizens become more independent? We have brought together experts from the tech world to share their insights with you.
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“The fact that we spend 90% of our lives inside buildings and even the next generation is estimated to be ‘Indoor Generation’ makes it much more important to understand how we use those buildings and how that affects our daily life. Smart homes should not be seen as buildings that can open and close devices, but they can serve as intelligent systems that can help seniors on their daily tasks and remind them what they have done or should do. Buildings Learn. Buildings Speak. Buildings Change. We just need to listen and create the data and information from them so that we can call the buildings a new layer that relates to the inhabitants that they can call the ‘Soul of the Building’.”
Soner Hacihaliloglu, Business Development Manager BEAD Technology
“The short answer is yes. Smart devices let you control different functions at home through a phone app or voice commands hence, reducing the need for physical effort and making the senior citizen less dependent on outside help. and here are a few examples:
“Smart locks: Lets you lock and unlock your doors through your phone or voice commands to a smart speaker without needing to physically be at the door.
“Smart lights: Set schedules for the lights to be turned on and off. Use motion sensors to turn the lights on or off.
“Smart thermostats: The smart thermostat will set the ideal temperature for your home based on the weather and your preferences and it will also save you money on your energy bill.
“Smart vacuum cleaner and lawnmower: Automatically clean your home and mow your lawn.”
Ori Benshalom, Founder Smarthomemuse.com
“Independent living is achievable with smart home automation not just for millennials but boomers too. With Voice assistants like Alexa, Siri, technology has become easier with the struggle of using & navigating complex apps. From smart thermostats, home security, convenience with the use of smart lights, refrigerators, everyday home management has become doable. Smart locks to end the debate of who forgot or lost the keys and are truly secured avoiding burglary and convenient centric when it comes to using. Further Motion alerts and sensors provide security for the elderly population staying alone. Heated floors in kitchens, bath and shower floors with integrated controls and thermostats are useful and can be voice-controlled, remotely controlled, and monitored from afar. Smart lighting is an integral part of most smart homes that enables light control from anywhere, automatic switching on of lights in dark to avoid any mishaps. In fact, we have developed an IoT-based smart water metering device that gives an overview of total water consumption in the house and keeps a check on avoiding water wastage, leakage contributing to saving resources. It is a noteworthy contribution to smart home technology.”
Mrudul Shah, Director CTO at Technostacks Infotech
“Smart electronic locks can give seniors much more independence, as well as convenience. The locks feature keyless entry, so seniors only have to remember a four-digit code - no worries about losing a key. They can allow seniors to provide customized, time-restricted codes to allow service people and caregivers to enter the home only when their services are needed. Plus, if they're in bed at night and not sure if they locked the doors, they can see the status of all door locks on their smartphone and can lock all doors with the push of a button. There are a number of other ways that these gadgets foster independence, but these are just a few.”
Erik Glassen, Sr. Brand Manager, Kwikset
“Smart home devices like smart light bulbs and plugs can make seniors more independent. By using voice commands through Alexa and Google Assistant, they can turn lights and appliances on and off without having to get up. In addition, smart security cameras shared with a family member or caretaker can allow seniors to live independently, with the safety of having someone able to live-stream footage and check on them at any time.”
Aliza Vigderman, Senior Content Manager and Tech Journalist at Security.org
“Almost all technologies are work in progress. Some have smart devices that offer an incredible amount of accessibility and independence for people in the elderly age group. Such smart devices are integrated seamlessly with other home automation features and can be used by elderly people to achieve ease and efficiency in their home living. These smart devices include sensor pads and sensors that are hidden within the home, wireless communication with the presence of smartphones, improved network processing, advanced voice control features etc. Together all these help to reduce clutter in the home environment, improve daily living, increase safety for elderly people, avoid health-related issues and reduce health care costs. The main barrier is adoption by the elderly. It used to be hard for them to use the devices, however, this is less of an issue with smart devices. But elderly are still hesitant to use devices they don't understand.”
Jacob Reno, Seniors Who Move
“I believe that smart homes can go a long way in providing seniors with a sense of independence – the inter-connectivity of these gadgets will ensure that seniors can do just about anything whilst sitting in their favorite spot, from adjusting the lighting and thermostat to keeping a vigil on the front porch. Additionally, there are devices that will help them in taking care of their health- monitoring heart rate/pulse, reminding them about medication, etc. Smart homes can play a huge role in ensuring that seniors can still feel a sense of not being dependant on family and friends for all your small needs – this is crucial to maintaining their mental health.”
Charlotte Robinson, Engineer and Smart Home Blogger of Robot Powered Home
“Incorporating smart home security is a relatively simple way to support aging adults who wish to live independently. Beyond alerting older adults to break-ins and criminal activity, smart home security can prove useful by alerting them that a door or window has been left open, that there’s a leak in the basement or that something has been forgotten on the stove. It’s a simple add in terms of both setup and everyday use, but an important one because it allows older adults, and their adult children, to rest easy knowing that they will be taken care of by security professionals in the event of an emergency.”
Christian Cerda, CEO, SimpliSafe
“According to Merck Manual, approximately 29% of the 46 million community-dwelling elderly live alone. Smart home technology can be used to support the elderly in living independently at home, providing security, added convenience, and peace of mind for caregivers. Use cases include smart security cameras that monitor a home, smart sensors that detect movement, and smart lighting and thermostats that can be accessed by both a homeowner or their caregiver from a smartphone.”
Mitchell Klein, Executive Director of the Z-Wave Alliance
Smart devices used right could greatly improve the life quality of senior citizens. They could manage to maintain a great degree of independence while still being safe.