11/02/2021 by Kim Stevens 0 Comments
How Smart Technology Can Help You Stay Independent For Longer
No one can deny that technology is a wonderful thing, but it seems to move so fast that it’s very easy to get left behind. However, it would be a mistake to think that smart technology is just the domain of the young; recent advances in the industry can be used to not only make your home more secure, but to help you (or an elderly loved one) to stay independent for longer.
What Exactly Is Smart Technology For The Home?
Smart gadgets, including phones, hubs and voice-controlled systems aren’t just for the lazy! - they can benefit everyone, especially the elderly or those with mobility issues.
Using smart technology at home allows you to connect everyday devices to a WiFi network that can then be controlled using a central smart device such as a phone app, smart hub, or smart speaker.
This means that you’ll be able to use that device as a sort of remote control for things such as light bulbs, thermostats, plugs, and some household appliances.
How Can Smart Technology Help The Elderly?
Smart technology is a great way to make your home more secure, as you can control the devices in your home even when you’re not there. For example, you could set lights or the radio to come on at a certain time so that it looks like someone is home...or you could even turn the heating on while you are out to ensure you come home to a toasty warm house!
And that’s not all:
Switching on lights, lamps, or reaching plug sockets can be a challenge for older people - particularly those who have mobility issues - but smart technology can take care of all of that for you.
You can switch lights off once you’re already settled in bed, so no need to stumble about in the dark and risk tripping or falling.
There are blinds that you can control from your home or smart speaker, and even kits available that you can add to the blinds you already have to make them smart!
There’s also smart technology available that means a carer or family member can monitor the activity in your home. This can be particularly useful if an elderly loved one is perhaps living Alzheimer’s or dementia, and allows a relative to raise an alarm if there’s a problem.
What Is A Smart Hub?
A smart hub is used to control all of the smart devices in your home; some of the best ones allow you to set routines for your devices via an app on your smartphone so that you can just set everything for certain times and let it get on with it!
For example, you could set your lights and radio to come on at 7am, and your blinds to open at 8. In the evening you could set the heating to go up a few degrees and the bulbs to dim a little - all without having to leave the comfort of your armchair - how’s that for convenience!
Voice-Controlled Smart Hubs And Speakers
Some older people might find using an app on a smartphone a bit daunting, or perhaps arthritis or other conditions mean that you no longer have the dexterity to use a touchscreen. If this is the case then a voice-controlled smart hub or smart speaker might be a better option.
These literally do what they say on the tin and allow you to speak your command rather than tap it into a screen.
You may already be familiar with some of the smart speakers available, such as Amazon’s Alexa, Google Home, or Apple’s Siri. All of these systems can be used to activate many of the most popular smart home devices. And they’re intuitive too, understanding the different ways of saying a range of commands - for example, the Amazon Echo knows you want your lights switched off whether you say, ‘turn the lights off’, ‘switch off’, ‘turn off’, or just ‘off’.
These types of speakers are able to recognise different dialects and words, so if you or an elderly loved one has speech that perhaps isn’t completely clear, you or they should still be understood by the smart speaker.
These ingenious devices also double as handy personal assistants; answering questions, giving you the latest news or weather forecast, playing music, or starting a phone call - perfect for those who have difficulty using a smartphone or computer, or simply don’t want to.
So, whether via app or voice-command, smart devices for the home can be an absolute godsend for an older person who sometimes struggles with day to day tasks - but what smart gadgets do we recommend to get you started?
The Best Smart Devices
Smart Light Bulbs - There’s no need to worry about having new fixtures or fittings - smart light bulbs slot into your regular lamp and ceiling lights. You can turn them on, off, and dim them - even if your light doesn’t have a dimmer function!
Smart Plugs - Sockets are almost always tucked away somewhere low down and awkward and require bending and reaching if you want to switch them off at the wall. Smart plugs can be switched off from an app, making switching the TV or radio off at the wall before bed a breeze.
Smart Thermostats - These are slightly more complicated in that you have to have a compatible boiler and, if you don’t, having one installed that is compatible will be more expensive and not as simple to fit as say a bulb or a socket. Having said that, they do make adjusting the temperature in your home really quick and easy, using either an app or voice control (if you have the right smart hub).
And What About Home Security
Smart home security is so much more than setting timers for your smart bulbs - although of course this is an excellent deterrent to would-be thieves. Smart technology is constantly developing new ways to help you stay safe and independent in your own home for as long as possible.
Smart Security Cameras
It’s now possible for a wireless security camera to be connected to your home’s broadband and be accessed from anywhere in the world from your smartphone, tablet or PC.
This is an ideal system for those who have elderlyloved ones that they perhaps can’t visit for whatever reason, to check that they’re ok when they’re by themselves or when they have carers or visitors coming in.
Most of these types of camera are motion-sensing, and some have face-detection so that you can set ‘safe’ faces that won’t set off an alert.
If you’re considering installing smart security cameras at the home of an elderly loved one, you might want to think about a system that has a built-in microphone and speaker so that you can hold conversations. There are even functions such as zoom lens and pan-and-tilt available, although these features rarely come as standard.
These are the same as regular doorbells, except they come with a built-in camera and motion tracking sensors. You’ll be alerted by a loud ring or text when someone comes to your door (handy for the hard of hearing), and as most smart doorbells on the market allow for two-way communication, you’ll be able totalk to whoever’s there without having to go to the front door.
For someone who is older and beginning to struggle with day-to-day tasks, installing smart gadgets is a good start to reclaiming some independence. If you want to know more about staying independent in your own home for as long as possible,get in touch with a member of our friendly and dedicated team.