Article written by: Elise Morgan
The leaps and bounds in smart technology have made life much easier for many people, not least of all enabling seniors to retain their independence for longer. Whether choosing to remain in their own homes or join a residential community for seniors, smart technology can enhance elderly people’s lives – just as it does for the rest of the population. If you are considering improving senior living with smart technology, select the most appropriate products with our five tips.
What is Smart Home Technology?
Smart home technology is an encompassing term for many different products that assist people in running their home, making life more convenient, comfortable and secure. From ‘smart’ thermostats to lighting and onto sensors; smart technology connects to a central home hub from which users can control the products.
To avoid the need for elderly people to learn a number of different apps and control them from a smartphone or other device, it is useful to start off with a smart home assistant such as Amazon’s Echo, or Google Home. By installing a central control, all other smart technology can be controlled and monitored through a single product. A second benefit of a smart home hub is the ability to control products with a voice command.
Considering only 10% of people over the age of 65, and just 16% of 50 – 64 year-olds use a smartphone, voice command technology is invaluable in senior living.
How Can Smart Home Technology Be Beneficial to Seniors?
Smart home technology can connect and control speakers, lighting, thermostats and much, much more. Considering the range of health and well-being related issues that are pertinent in our later years, smart technology can be used to either mitigate or eradicate them. In doing so, elderly people are able to maintain their independence, dignity and continue active lives.
Improved Sleep Quality: Sleep disturbances are more common among the elderly population than any other group. Trouble falling asleep, restless nights and difficulty staying asleep are all more prevalent when we reach our later years. Smart technology can aid elderly people with one of the top recommendations for getting a good night’s sleep – the bedroom environment. A smart thermostat can be installed so that room temperature can be lowered to a more conducive level for sleep at the call of the occupant. Another option is to install smart speakers that can be instructed to play white noise keeping light sleepers from waking.
Better Health: At a time when our memories are likely to fail, taking medication at the right times can become imperative for our health. Forgetting to take a particular pill, taking it twice or taking it too close to another medication it may have an adverse reaction with, can have serious consequences. Smart technology can again be used to help seniors take the right pills at the right times, without the worry of doubling up. Smart medication dispensers such as Reminder Rosie and MedMinder can alert people at the right time about the medication they need, and even other appointments or tasks.
Better for the Environment: It may seem like a small thing, but left-on lights, stoves and appliances are not only bad for utility bills, but the environment too. Smart technology can be used to control lights, heating and even the stove – switching them off at predetermined times, or when sensors detect no-one is in the room and using them. A wide range of electric stove turn-off products are already on the market, some run on a timer and others have sensors. Technology for gas stoves is still under development.
The development of smart technology is expected to continue growing and is sure to make the lives of senior and disabled people far easier and more comfortable as further products become available.