Our population of elderly people is increasing and only getting going to get larger. In fact, the number of Americans ages 65 and older is projected to nearly double from 52 million in 2018 to 95 million by 2060.
As people grow older, so does their need for assistance. Even the most capable of senior citizens can benefit from additional help. However, the burden on family members can be immense, as they are often the primary caregivers for aging relatives.
There’s been an increase in seniors aging in place, meaning they maintain an independent living situation. The advent of smart home tech has helped make this a more sustainable reality. Here is a list of some smart home tech seniors should consider:
These programmable remote and voice-activated thermostats allow you to adjust the temperature of a room from the click of a button or the sound of your voice. Since smart thermostats can be controlled from one’s seat, a senior doesn’t have to worry about straining themselves getting up to adjust the temperature. This ensures that they’re as comfortable as possible with very little effort.
Probably the best know of smart thermostats is the Nest Learning Thermostat. There are a variety of these thermostats available (1st, 2nd, and 3rd generation). The price varies and each has it’s pros and cons
The Nest Learning Thermostat can work in conjunction with Amazon’s Alexa for fully sophisticated voice control and can be controlled via Wi-Fi with devices like your laptop or smartphone.
Smart light bulbs and switches allow you to control the lighting in your home with ease, all from a smartphone app. Smart bulbs, like the Lifx White 800 LEDs, can be controlled via Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. Smart switches, like the Wink Relay, can be programmed to turn on and off at specific times.
Aging increases one’s needs for proper rest. While you might think nothing of turning a light bulb or switch on or off, it can be an arduous process for a senior with limited mobility.
Additionally, older adults can turn on a light in a room and avoid tripping or falling while searching for a light switch. With smart lights, older people will be able to keep their homes properly lit or dimmed. This can decrease the risk of falling and sustaining a fracture or other serious injury.
These doorbells offer residents a glimpse at who is outside their door, so they can have a better idea about whether or not they should answer. They often have other smart features as well. The Zmodo Greet WiFi Video Doorbell allows residents to record a personalized message for when they’re unable to reach the door.
We want to ensure that our oldest citizens are as safe and secure as possible, whether they’re living independently or with assistance. These smart doorbells help ensure seniors have full awareness of who’s coming to visit them before answering the door.
These high-tech security cameras allow you to keep track of what’s going on in, out and around your home. Their smart device compatibility means you can keep track of what’s going on from your smartphone. Security camera brands differ but most allow you to have clips of activity around your home sent to you on your smartphone.
Similar to smart doorbells, these security cameras provide security in two senses: they keep a sharp eye on a senior’s home and have a sophistication that helps residents feel as safe as possible.
Related content: How to Talk to Your Aging Parent About Getting Help
Smart smoke alarms
The threat of fire is one that everyone should be aware of and safeguarded against with proper detection devices. With these smart smoke alarms, seniors can ensure they can receive the proper alerting.
The Nest Protect is a combined smoke and carbon dioxide (CO2) detection device. It also has a motion detection feature that turns on a light to help prevent trips and falls.
It uses different color lights and also connects to an app that alert you to exactly what the problem is. It can tell the difference between a fast-burning and a smoldering fire. And it can distinguish between smoke and steam.
This multi-featured safety device can bring a sense of security to seniors, particularly those living alone and their families.
These smart heating, ventilation, and air conditioning allow for the temperature to be controlled on a room-by-room basis. This allows residents to feel comfortable all around their home.
Comfort starts with temperature, and an unregulated home can mean a senior can either feel too warm or too cold without any true means of comfort possible. Smart HVAC systems eliminate that worry by providing temperatures that are just right in each room.
Personal emergency response systems
In the case of a medical emergency with no one around to assist, these emergency response systems allow you to signal for help instantaneously. The Bay Alarm Medical and MobileHelp emergency systems have fall detection sensors that work to bring help right away.
A senior living alone can be vulnerable to injury. These personalized systems help make sure that if something does happen, they can receive help as soon as possible.
Should there be any movement around your home, these motion sensors cast lights so potential intruders know they’re been monitored. The MAXSA Innovations Security Spotlight comes with two lights in each set, allowing you to cast light on as much of your home as possible.
By offering thorough light monitoring, motion sensors allow seniors to feel safe inside their homes. While they rest easy, the powerful light will act like a guard for them. Combined with smart doorbells and security cameras, motion sensors can significantly reduce fears of outside danger.
Smart home tech makes life easier for seniors and their families
These various systems provide a great deal of security as well as a sense of well-being for seniors and their caregivers. If you have an older relative or know of another person who would benefit from this technology, we encourage you to research as much as possible in order to find the right systems for that person. Once everything is properly installed, they and you should be thrilled by the ease it has brought to their lives.
First published May 16, 2017, it was reviewed and updated on March 15, 2020.
Maricel Tabalba is a freelance writer who is interested in writing about smart gadgets, emerging tech trends, and environmentally friendly advice. She earned her Bachelor of Arts in English with a minor in Communication from the University of Illinois at Chicago.