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Savvy Living

Savvy Senior

Smart Home Devices That Can Help With Aging In Place

I recently read an article about how "smart home" devices can help with aging in place. What types of smart home products can you recommend that can help with this?

There are actually a wide variety of affordable smart home devices you can add to your home that can help make it safer and easier to live in as you age. Here is what you should know.

Smart Home Technologies

While most Americans today use technology and enjoy the conveniences it provides, there are many who still do not have much use for it. But you do not have to like technology or be tech savvy to benefit from the many different smart home automation devices that can help with aging in place.

Smart home devices can also give family members and caregivers the ability to electronically keep tabs on a loved one from afar, which provides peace of mind.

If you are interested in adding some smart home products to your house, you need to know that these devices require home Wi-Fi. For many of the products, you will need a smartphone, tablet or voice-enabled assistant to operate them. Here are some popular smart home products to help you get started.

Voice-enabled assistant: Popular products like the Amazon Echo, Google Assistant and Apple HomePod will let you operate compatible smart home products with simple voice commands.

These devices can also play your favorite music, read audiobooks, make calls, set timers and alarms, provide reminders for appointments and to take medications, check traffic and weather, ask questions, and much more - all done by voice command.

Smart lights: The risk of a fall, a common concern among the elderly, can be elevated by fumbling around a dark room looking for a light switch. Smart light bulbs can be turned on and off by voice command, smartphone or tablet. These bulbs can also be dimmed and can be programmed to turn on and off whenever you want. There are also smart electric plugs that offer remote control automation for lamps, fans, or other electrical devices.

Video doorbell: Safety is also a concern for individuals who live alone. Smart doorbells allow you to see, hear and speak to someone at the door via smartphone, tablet or smart display without having to open it.

Stovetop shut-off: To help prevent home cooking fires, stovetop shut-off devices use motion sensors to turn off electric and gas stovetops when left unattended for a predetermined amount of time. These devices may also alert family members via text message.

Medication management: Individuals on a complex medication schedule may benefit from a smart medication tracking system that can remind them when pills are due, tracks when pills were taken and notifies loves ones.

Home monitoring: Family members can keep tabs on older loved ones from afar with smart home video cameras or a smart home sensor system.

Other options: Some other helpful smart home products to consider might include smart door locks and smart thermostats, which can enable family members to unlock doors or change the thermostat from afar. Smart nightlights can provide peace of mind and some can detect falls and alert caregivers in case of a fall.

The price for smart home products ranges anywhere from a few dollars to several hundred dollars. These products may be found in many local home improvement stores as well as online.

Savvy Living is written by Jim Miller, a regular contributor to the NBC Today Show and author of "The Savvy Living” book. Any links in this article are offered as a service and there is no endorsement of any product. These articles are offered as a helpful and informative service to our friends and may not always reflect this organization’s official position on some topics. Jim invites you to send your senior questions to: Savvy Living, P.O. Box 5443, Norman, OK 73070.

Published January 11, 2019
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