As we grow old, many of us prefer to live in our own homes and maintain our independence for as long as possible. While migrating to other senior-friendly cities is still an attractive option for some older folks, more and more senior citizens are choosing to stay where they are. A recent study by AARP found out that over 85 percent of senior citizens in the United States share this desire of aging in their current home. Increased longevity is associated with increased susceptibility to injury and diseases. Old age comes with chronic health issues, failing eyesight, declining strength, reduced mobility and memory problems. All these conditions make it difficult to live independently. Statistics show that 30 percent of senior citizens experience a fall each year. Not every home is designed to smoothen the transition into golden years. This forces a significant portion of seniors to move in with relatives or enter assisted–living facilities.
With the current worrying trends in population demographics, it is becoming progressively difficult for the relevant authorities to fully support the social and health care systems of senior citizens. To take care of this, many researchers and tech giants have invented various enhancements to better the lives of seniors and enable them to continue staying in their current homes. One of the most recent and innovative enhancements comes from adopting smart home technology for senior citizens. Smart home technology brings practical solutions to the health and mobility challenges seniors face.
Simply put, smart homes refer to designed living spaces meant to deliver unobtrusive support systems and interactive technologies to enable seniors to enjoy a higher level of participation, activity, independence and well-being. Modern smart home technology systems are user-friendly, affordable and versatile with respect to the functions they can perform. When used correctly, smart home technology for senior citizens can help them live at home for longer and handle tasks they might otherwise not be able to accomplish.
By creating a safe and secure home environment, you are sure to minimize stress, falls, social isolation, fear and disability. If you are a senior citizen wondering what smart home technology is available to help you around the house, you are reading the right article.
Smart-home systems link together the fields of technology, housing, sociology, health care and engineering in relation to safety, sensors, robotics, communications, social care, ergonomics and telehealth. The systems can control and monitor activities in the homes of seniors. Stringing together a collection of smart devices into a senior’s home is no easy task but totally worth it. Utilizing the right smart home technology can be beneficial to senior citizens as it offers social interaction, security and minimum intrusion. We will discuss each technology in detail later in the article.
There are various smart home technologies that are readily accepted by seniors, their family members, carriers and health care professionals. Below is a list of 9 assistive technology devices for senior citizens:
Our unhealthy eating habits and modern sedentary lifestyles have led to a rise in chronic diseases such as asthma, diabetes, obesity and heart disease. Even though chronic diseases are fatal, they can be prevented through early detection or controlled using long-term monitoring. Motion sensors are an effective way for long-term monitoring and health management. They excel in continuous and remote monitoring movements as you go about your activities. They are placed in predefined, thoughtfully selected locations like the bathroom, bedroom, front door, living room and refrigerator. Motion-tracking sensors observe abnormal movements or behavior of senior citizens as they go about their day-to-day routines. Information gathered by the sensors include bathroom visits, walking speeds, eating habits and sleeping patterns. You can get the Smart Caregiver Economy Wireless Monitor & Motion Sensor from Amazon for just $53.96.
Maintaining cleanliness is a big challenge that senior citizens living independently in their homes face. This can be attributed to reduced stamina, strength or physical capacity. The declined energy makes it hard to get down on your knees to scrub the floors or use heavy-duty vacuum cleaners. House-cleaning robot vacuums such as Roomba can help you with floor cleaning chores. These robots can be conveniently controlled by smartphones. Standout features include a 3-stage cleaning process, multi-room navigation and filter for microscopic dirt and allergens. You can get a used iRobot Roomba 690 Robot Vacuum from $230.99 on Amazon. This model has Wi-Fi connectivity and works well with Google Assistant and Alexa.
Home security systems provide you with security coverage to keep you and your loved ones safe from home intruders. Home monitoring can additionally give your family members the much-needed peace of mind as they monitor your progress without actually being there. By tracking your movements in your house throughout the day, your family members will be able to pinpoint possible health problems before they become fatal. The eCare21 monitoring service app that will monitor you 24/7 and share the information with a caregiver or family member. eCare21 includes wearable devices that help you to track physical activity, heart rate, glucose levels, calorie intake, medication compliance and weight. Nest Security Camera is available on Amazon for just $171.90. It has a built-in speaker and mic and works well with Alexa.
Memory and cognitive functions in senior citizens decline with age leading to dementia and severe memory loss. Statistically, 80 percent of senior citizens have at least one chronic disease. As a result of this, most seniors are required to take multiple medications at different times a day. Seniors with memory issues might find this task challenging. They can either forget to take medicine or take higher doses than prescribed. That is where medication reminders come in. A medication reminder provides a gentle way to remind older people about taking the right medication at the right time. The medication reminder is a handy smart home technology for senior citizens that alerts you at a pre-scheduled time. MedMinder Pill Dispensers are available on Amazon for $40-60 depending on the specific model.
A Mobile Personal Emergency Response System (PERS) relies on emergency response devices like pendants and wristbands that monitor you at home and communicate with the relevant authorities in case of an emergency. They indicate falls and can be remotely used as 24/7 emergency help buttons. Personal Emergency Response Systems provide your GPS information which assists contact dispatching emergency services. Recommendations include LifeAlert, MobileHelp and GreatCall. The MobileHelp Classic is available on Amazon for $59.97.
As we grow old, we become more susceptible to illnesses and conditions that limit the tasks we can accomplish. Some of these illnesses can lead to muscle tremors of the hands and other body parts. Having such a condition can make it difficult to carry out basic tasks. Liftware’s self steadying kitchen cutlery uses advanced sensors and motion technology that reduce shakes by up to 70 percent. The Liftware Steady Starter Kit for hand tremor can be found on Amazon at an affordable price of $199.00.
Most operating systems ship with some form of accessibility technology. Microsoft leads the pack with assistive tools built into MS Windows 10. But for some senior citizens, operating system tools are not enough, which pushes the need for a better solution. If you struggle with small displays of hand-held devices and bright laptop screens, you might find the USB Dolphin SuperNova Magnifier helpful. This app will help you magnify on-screen text and content up to 64 times! The app supports most of the world’s common languages. The installation process is simple and the USB stick is portable. The SuperNova Magnifier and Screen Reader is available on Amazon for $1,195.00.
If you have hearing loss problems, you might not be aware when a visitor is at your front door. By picking the right smart doorbell, you will handle this problem once and for all. A smart doorbell allows for remote monitoring and 2-way communication. By sending alerts to your smartphone directly, you will no longer miss a visitor at your front door. One of the best options for smart doorbells that we recommend is Ring Video Doorbell Pro. This smart doorbell boasts a live video feed and instant notification. You can also talk to your visitor in real time thanks to the built-in microphone. The built-in motion sensor in Ring Video Doorbell Pro alerts you if there is a stranger prowling around your front door without ringing the bell. The Ring Video Doorbell Pro is available on Amazon in various colors for about $249.
Smart home assistants integrate seamlessly with other smart home products to complete tasks that seniors find challenging to do. Amazon Echo is another increasingly mainstream technology that can help senior citizens with physical limitations. By using easy to learn voice commands, you will make your life much more comfortable. Alexa can help you play music, read books and news aloud, place voice commands, inform you of the weather forecast, and control other smart devices in your house. The second generation of the Amazon Echo is available for $99.99.
Despite the growing popularity of smart home technology for senior citizens, the major challenge adopting it is marketing the concepts to older people directly. The market penetration of smart home technology has witnessed a steady increase over the past few years. It is, however, a bit challenging for seniors that value their privacy of sensitive personal and medical info. Technology may also be complicated to use, especially for seniors who are not tech-savvy. This reluctance by seniors to adopt the current available complex smart home systems is because some systems need software applications and multiple networking devices to implement and control them. Recent developments to tackle these issues and achieve widespread acceptance among seniors include improving and simplifying the user interface. More needs to be done in addressing issues related to privacy to enhance the emotional and social well-being of senior citizens.
Smart home technology is not just for the new generation of tech-savvy individuals. It plays a significant role in bettering the lives and safety of senior citizens living at home independently. Use our list of smart home technology for senior citizens above to pick the right smart home technology for you.
Do you have any other recommendations for smart technology for senior citizens we have not included on our list? Feel free to share with other seniors in the comments section below.
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