12 Smart Home Assistant Devices For Elderly And Seniors
By 2030, 1 in 6 people in the world will be aged 60 years or over1, and the number continues to grow. As their physical condition will not at their prime, many will need a support system. Other than caregivers, family members and elderly homes, there is a growing interest in smart home technology.
The concept of a smart home is no stranger to the public nowadays, in fact, if you are using smart bulbs or smart thermostats, you’re already part of the community. While in a normal smart home, people may look for efficiency and convenience, the priority in a smart home for older adults will lean towards enhancing independence, safety and comfort, allowing the elderly to age in ease.
Whether you are a caregiver, healthcare professional, or simply seeking solutions to improve the elderly life of your family, friends or yourself, this article will explore 12 smart home devices for seniors and their benefits.
Benefits Of Smart Homes For Older Adults
Although senior citizens may not be as tech-savvy as the younger generation, smart home technology brings genuine benefits in increasing their autonomy and independence, empowering them to grow old in a safer and comfortable environment.
Smart home gadgets such as robotic vacuum cleaner can automate house chores, saving time and energy while promotes independence. For instance, with automatic vacuums, the seniors can simply schedule cleaning routines on their phone or tablets, then the robotic vacuum cleaners will clean automatically. Some premier models include docking station that can even auto-empty debris into a large dustbin that can hold months worth of clutter, further reducing the need for frequent care.
Senior citizens can also live safer at home by installing smart security systems and staying connected with their loved ones. Smart doorbells and alarms can monitor any suspicious activity around the house, while caregivers and family members can check on them via video cameras and sensors, giving everyone a peace of mind. In case of an emergency, smart speakers like Google Home and Amazon Echo are able to recognize phrases such as ‘help’ or ‘call 911’ and call the emergency line for them.
Furthermore, smart speakers set reminders and receive voice commands from the seniors. For those who needs to take medications regularly, voice reminders can remind users about their medicine schedule and appointments. These smart speakers are also more user-friendly – instead of learning how to use different apps, the seniors can simply activate and communicate with the speakers by voice.
Smart Devices For Elderly
Upgrade to a smart home can address many important aspects of aging in place. With advanced technology, smart home devices can bring tangible benefits to the elderly.
Smart Vacuum Cleaners
Cleaning the floors around the house can be physically demanding for the elderly as their mobility declines with age. Robot floor cleaners are designed to automatically navigate the house and plan the most efficient cleaning route. Premier models such as our DEEBOT T20 Omni, DEEBOT X1 Omni and DEEBOT N10 Plus are equipped with powerful mopping heads and auto-emptying stations, streamlined the process of floor cleaning and make it a hands-free experience.
Smart Security Systems:
Smart security systems include surveillance cameras and motion sensors around the house, enabling 24/7 remote control of their home. Smart doorbells with cameras can show who is at the door before answering, while with smart locks, family members can check in on them simply using passwords or codes to unlock. This feature is especially useful for those who are hard of hearing, as notifications can be displayed on their phones or tablets.
One of the primary aging issues is the loss of mobility. Smart lighting allows users to remotely turn on and off the lights, while with smart blinds, users can open and close the blinds from far. These tasks become effortless for senior citizens as they can simply ‘tell’ the home assistant what to do. They can also preset lighting settings, for example, dimming the lights at sunset. The same goes for smart blinds.
Smart Home Monitoring:
Another useful feature would be smart home monitoring. From temperature control, leak detectors, to humidity and air quality sensors, it allows older adults to have better control of the home. This is also a safety precaution, for example, gas sensors can send an alert when there is a gas leak, and in some cases, they can even call emergency services.
With the help of smart thermostat, you can always keep the place at a comfortable temperature, regardless of the weather outside. Another advantage is that it can adjust the temperature and save on the energy bill.
Smart Medication Management:
Smart medication dispensers help the elderly who are suffering with declining memory, Alzheimer’s and dementia in managing their medication usage. Whether it is sending voice reminders, or preloading a pill dispenser with medications and dispense them according to a preset schedule, these technologies effectively help senior citizens in monitoring their medicine intake. Some models even have locks to prevent theft or accidental overdoses.
Smart speakers are getting more common in the average household. Apart from being a control hub, its voice command is a great function for the seniors who are not familiar with apps. Once set up properly, they can simply ‘ask’ the voice assistant to set reminders for later, or calling their loved ones on the phone.
As a popular smart wearable, smartwatches are more than just telling time for older adults. Nowadays, smartwatches feature functions like fall detection, heart rate tracking, emergency alerts and more. For those who live alone, smartwatches can be life-saving in case of emergency, giving a peace of mind to both the elderly and their loved ones.
Smart Kitchen Appliances:
Many senior citizens experience memory loss will keep buying the same product, or leave the food cooking until it burnt, without noticing. Smart kitchen appliances, including smart ovens and microwaves, allow the elderly to remotely set cooking timers, turn on and off and change temperature, preventing accidents from happening. Smart refrigerators, on the other hand, track item expiry dates and allow you to view the inside when you forgot to make a grocery list. The built-in sensors also send alerts if a fridge door was left open or when the water filter needs replacing.
Smart Smoke Detectors
As an essential for home safety, smoke detectors were traditionally used to detect smoke and warn you of potential danger, but not if you’re not home to hear the alarm. With smart technology, smoke detectors can now be connected to a home security system, allowing you to monitor the situation from far. When you accidentally set the alarm off with burnt toast, you can easily deactivate it via an app, instead of using a broomstick to press the off button. They also monitor carbon dioxide levels, adding an extra layer of protection for the older adults.
Losing things around the house is not uncommon, particularly for elderly that suffered from memory loss, they can spend a lot of time finding things like car keys and TV remotes. Smart trackers work with a GPS system, when they are securely attached to valuable items, users can either activate an alarm to guide them to their location, or simply locate them with a virtual map on the phone.
Smart TVs and streaming devices such as Apple TV provide entertainment options and allow the elderly to stay connected with the world from the comfort of their own home. In comparison, smart TVs offer a wide range of movies, TV shows, documentaries and other content that the elderly can choose shows based on their personal interests, rather than being limited to TV programs.
How To Ensure Safe Smart Home Technology For Elderly
Despite the fact that the seniors may not be as tech-savvy as the younger generation, they can still enjoy the benefits of smart home technology by following these tips on data privacy, online security and scams.
First, establishing a secure Wi-Fi network is essential for privacy and security reasons. Use an encrypted Wi-Fi network and set up strong passwords, while it is also a good idea to have a separate Wi-Fi for guests. Using strong passwords for all smart devices and enabling two-factor authentication is highly recommended to prevent hackers from accessing into the devices and stealing personal information. To further protect privacy, review the privacy settings on smart devices and apps to limit data collection and sharing, and update the firmware and software regularly to address potential security vulnerabilities.
Moreover, it is essential to educate the older adults about scams. Other than teaching them how to identify suspicious links and files from unknown sources, it is always a good idea to raise awareness about online scams from phishing emails, fake calls and fraudulent websites. The elderly are often targeted by these scams since they are less familiar with the online world, therefore encourage them to be cautious especially when personal information is involved.
By following these tips, the elderly can take advantages of smart home technology while safeguarding their privacy and security.
What is a smart home for elderly?
A smart home is equipped with smart devices like robotic vacuum cleaners and smart speakers that automate routines and improve control over tasks. Through a central hub, usually an app or a voice assistant, users can remotely monitor and control all the smart devices. For the elderly, a smart home can enhance their independence and keep them connected to their loved ones.
Can you upgrade an older home into a smart home?
Upgrading an older home into a smart home can certainly be done. Start by setting up a secure Wi-Fi network, then connect smart devices to a central hub for remote control. It is recommended to start with basic devices such as automatic vacuum cleaners, and gradually add more smart devices along the way.
What are the best smart home devices for seniors?
Many smart devices bring genuine benefits for older adults. Smart security cameras and sensors can improve security of the house, and in case of emergency, sensors like fall sensors and smoke detectors can call the emergency services and alert their loved ones. Smart speaker is also a great investment since voice command is more user-friendly than apps.