Smart Home Technology for Senior Citizens

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.

What Is Smart Home Technology?

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.

A Home That Takes Care Of You

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.

How Does Smart Technology for Senior Citizens Actually Help?

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.

Best Smart Home Technology For Senior Citizens

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:

  1. Motion Sensors
Smart Caregiver Economy Wireless Monitor & Motion Sensor
  • Smart Caregiver Versatile and Economical Wireless Monitoring
  • System comes with 1 Economy Wireless Monitor and 1 Motion Sensor with swivel bracket for specific area motion sensing. Easy to monitor loved ones getting out of bed or leaving the room. Can be used above or by doorways or next to bed.
  • The Monitor uses three "C" batteries and the Motion Sensor uses three "AA" batteries. (not included)
  • Adjustable volume (Hi/Lo/Med) monitor also is expandable- handles up to 5 wireless components

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.

  1. House-Cleaning
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iRobot Roomba 690 Robot Vacuum with Wi-Fi Connectivity, Works with Alexa, Good for Pet Hair, Carpets, Hard Floors
  • Sleek, Premium design complements your home decor; includes 1 dual mode virtual wall barrier for more control over where your robot cleans
  • 3-Stage cleaning system and dual Multi-Surface brushes pick up everything from small particles to large debris
  • Patented dirt detect sensors alert roomba to work harder on concentrated areas of dirt, such as high-traffic zones of your home
  • Full suite of intelligent sensors guide the robot under and around furniture to help thoroughly clean your floors
  • Clean and schedule from anywhere with the iRobot home app; compatible with Amazon Alexa and the Google assistant

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.

  1. Home Security Systems
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Nest Security Camera, Keep An Eye On What Matters to You, From Anywhere, For Indoor Use, Works with Alexa
  • Works with Alexa for voice control (Alexa device sold separately).
  • DON'T MISS A THING WITH NEST ALERTS: Whether the kids just came home from school or the dog has decided to eat those new pillows you just bought; the Nest Cam sees it all! Get alerts through your Nest App whenever the camera detects movement and activity. And the coolest part is that the Nest Cam can tell the difference between movement from say a hand getting into a cookie jar, and a person entering a room. Person Alerts and Activity Alerts can help keep your home safe even if you aren't there.
  • BE HEARD WITH NEST: Nest Cam Indoor has a built-in speaker and mic, so you can hear what's happening at home. Or tell the dog to get off the couch.
  • SET IT UP ANYWHERE: The compact size of the Nest Cam makes installation a breeze. Nest Cam Indoor's stand works in all kinds of homes, on all types of surfaces. Set it down on something flat, like a table or shelf. The Nest Cam has a built­-in magnet so you can stick it to something metallic. Use the removable wall plate to attach Nest Cam to a wall. Or you can unscrew the camera from the base and attach it to any standard tripod mount.
  • WORKS WITH NEST: Nest has worked hard to design thoughtful devices to help keep you safe and secure. Nest devices not only communicate with each other but also with the other smart devices around your home. Your Nest Secure can use your smart light bulbs to help get your attention in the event of an emergency; your smart washer and dryer can take the data from Nest and run the next load of laundry when energy demand is low. Look for the Works with Nest badge and let Nest handle the rest.

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.

  1. Medication Reminders
LiveFine Automatic Pill Dispenser, 28-Day Electronic Medication Organizer with Alarm Reminders, Flashing Light and Safety Lock - Dispenses Prescriptions Up To 6 Times Per Day - Clear Lid
  • Motorized 28-Slot Carousel Rotates & Delivers Scheduled Medicine; Great for Seniors & Caregivers
  • Audible & Visual Alerts Sound & Flash Up to 30 Minutes When Pills Are Due; Simply Flip & Remove Pills From Slot
  • Multiple Templates Allow Up to 6 Alerts Per Day; Program Exact Dispense Time for Custom Treatment
  • High-Capacity Slots Accommodate Up to 18 Pills & Maximum 28 Days of Treatment for Minimal Refill

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.

  1. Automated Emergency Call Systems
MobileHelp Classic - Remotely Activated Cellular Home Medical Alert System for Seniors, 3 Months of Extended Service Included
  • Complete home medical alert system in a box - 24/7 access to help in any situation, even when the device is charging!
  • Activation of service plan required! Call to activate - service plans start at only $27.95 per month and the next three months are included
  • Simple to use - one button press connects you to a U.S. based emergency operator that knows who you are and your medical history.
  • No landline needed - Cellular coverage on one of the nation's most reliable networks (included with subscription). Know that your loved one is safe with this medical alert system with amplified two-way voice communication for use throughout the home
  • MobileHelp has the highest standards for quality and is the best system available for seniors. MobileHelp is an FDA registered company

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.

  1. Mealtime Aids
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Liftware Steady Starter Kit for hand tremor
  • Steady helps people with hand tremor eat more easily. It automatically stabilizes so the attached utensil shakes 70% less than your hand. Steady is designed to counteract tremors and shaky hands that may be related to conditions like Parkinson's disease or essential tremor.
  • The Liftware Steady Starter Kit includes the stabilizing handle and the soup spoon attachment.
  • The stabilizing handle includes built-in sensors, a computer, and motors that help to sense and counteract hand tremors.
  • The included soup spoon attachment connects to the stabilizing handle to pick up food such as soups, cereals and other liquids. The soup spoon attachment holds about 1 tablespoon (15mL) of liquid.
  • Travel pouch, hand strap and charger included. Other attachments (fork attachment, everyday spoon attachment, spork attachment) sold separately.

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.

  1. Poor Vision Aids
SuperNova Magnifier and Screen Reader
  • Crystal-clear text-and-image screen magnification up to 64x for blind users and people with low vision and visual impairments
  • Natural-sounding voice reads aloud as you type and works with web pages, apps, documents, and emails
  • When coupled with a scanner, capable of scanning and reading aloud paper documents
  • Braille input-output support - PLUS: Intelligent Screen Reader speaks spelling and formatting to ensure letter-perfect documents and emails
  • Touchscreen magnification for Windows tablets and touchscreen laptops; Supports: Windows 7, 8.1, and 10; as well as Desktop Computers

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.

  1. Smart Doorbells
Ring Video Doorbell Pro, Works with Alexa (existing doorbell wiring required)
  • Works with Alexa to illuminate and send announcements to Echo devices when your doorbell is pressed or motion is detected, allowing you to hear and speak to visitors with two-way talk
  • Lets you see, hear and speak to visitors from your phone, tablet and PC
  • Sends alerts as soon as motion is detected or when visitors press the Doorbell
  • Requires hardwired installation to existing doorbell wires. Compatible with ios, android, mac and windows 10 devices
  • Monitors your home in 1080HD video with infrared night vision

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.

  1. Home Assistant Products
Echo Dot (2nd Generation) - Smart speaker with Alexa - Black
  • Echo Dot is a voice-controlled speaker that uses Alexa to play music, control smart home devices, make calls, answer questions, set timers and alarms, and more.
  • Play music from Amazon Music, Spotify, Pandora, iHeartRadio, TuneIn, and SiriusXM.
  • Call or message family and friends hands-free, or drop in from the Alexa App to your Echo device.
  • Controls lights, locks, thermostats, and more with compatible connected devices.
  • Use the built-in speaker, or for bigger sound, connect to speakers through Bluetooth or audio cable.

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.

Tackling the Technology Gap

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.

Conclusion

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.

Click here to learn about essential healthcare products for senior citizens.

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