It may not come as much of a surprise, but research shows that most adults over fifty (76%) want to stay in their home as they age. If your senior parent or loved one is in that 76%, we have good news! There has been a slew of technological advancements and innovations in the home safety space in recent years. And while many of these products are helpful for all ages, there are two features included in most new tech that can be great for seniors specifically – remote monitoring and voice commands.
Remote monitoring means that you as the family caregiver can receive alerts should anything happen. And for seniors with arthritis or who have trouble with the learning curve that comes with technology, the option to use voice commands can be a lifesaver – literally!
In this article, we’ll highlight various tech products that feature one or both of those features and can help your aging parent stay in their home safely as long as possible.
In the Kitchen
One of the areas you may be concerned about is your parent cooking for themselves. Many seniors want to maintain that independence, but there can be some big consequences if something goes wrong or if they simply forget. There are a couple of ways you can “smarten” up your loved one’s kitchen to help prevent fires, and alert you if one does happen.
A stove-monitoring system will let you know if the gas has been left on, it can turn off the stove when it’s left unattended, and you control them remotely and receive alerts on kitchen-related activity. The company claims this can also help you detect changes in eating habits, which may signal bigger health issues.
Smart smoke and carbon monoxide detectors also allow you as the family caregiver to receive text alerts. Some even have voice instructions that tell you what type of hazard has been detected, its location, and how to respond (whether that’s opening a window or calling 911).
Other areas of the house
Depending on your loved one’s situation or medical conditions, you may want to incorporate some safeguards in other areas of the house. For those who have dementia and are at risk for leaving the house without letting anyone know, door and window sensors can be a great option.
The Monoprice Stich Wireless Smart Window and Door Sensor “provides simple 24/7 remote monitoring of your home and office entry points, directly from your Android™ or iOS® smartphone or tablet. Be the first to know. Send instant notifications directly to your smartphone whenever the door is opened or closed, giving you peace of mind, anytime, anywhere.”
Perhaps falls are a concern for your parent. Smart lighting like the Aladin Smart Lamp can not only detect falls, it can also help prevent them. The company explains how: “The fully customizable smart lamp is equipped with multiple motion sensors for fall detection and allows for caregivers to monitor from a distance. This gives dependents a greater sense of autonomy. Caregivers are alerted to any problems through Domalys’ online software which records nighttime activity and notifies of any potential hazards that may occur within the room.
Doorbell cameras can also be a great addition to your parent or loved one’s home. For those with mobility challenges, it’s helpful to be able to see what’s happening at the front door without having to physically check. The Arlo Essential Wireless Video Doorbell can distinguish between people, packages, animals, cars, and general motion and alerts you accordingly. Handy!
If you’re looking for a simpler option that combines a variety of features, you may want to go for a whole-home system. The Symphony Essential Bundle from CVS Health is made specifically for seniors and caregivers and includes:
- Voice-Activated Smart Hub with built-in motion, temperature, and air-quality sensors
- Care Button they can opt to wear
- Sensor with automatic fall detection for the bathroom*
- Motion Sensors to detect additional movement throughout the home
- Free caregiver app to monitor their well-being remotely
- Unlimited 4G service* for app-to-Smart Hub check-in calls
- 24/724 by 7 emergency call center support
The caregiver app alone has some great features, including a group chat for caregivers to coordinate care, support for an unlimited number of caregivers, alerts for falls, motion, air quality, and temperature, and updates if an emergency is triggered. It also receives requests for check-ins with your loved one.
Move over smart speakers! The newest devices incorporate the voice technology of the speaker but add in a screen component. The Amazon Show includes all the features you get with Dot (like using “Alexa”), but seniors can also easily make video calls and watch videos and shows using their voice. You can also control your other smart home devices like plugs, lighting, and a doorbell camera.
Another option that’s specifically designed for seniors is ElliQ, an interactive device that Includes a screen/tablet and a speaker-like base. According to the company, “ElliQ® is specially designed for older adults, giving them everything they need to stay sharp, connected and engaged. ElliQ creates a magical relationship with each individual user, providing older adults with a device that they truly want to converse and interact with. ElliQ is equipped with several easy-to-use baseline features that have already been validated and accepted by older adults.” Features include:
- Health reminders
- Music streaming
- Curated videos
- Morning motivation
- News, sports, and weather
- Cognitive Games
- Calendar Appointments
- Interesting facts
Technology can be a wonderful thing! It can help keep your parent or loved one safe and give you peace of mind as the family caregiver. But there are limits to what technology can do. One big component of health as we age is socialization and companionship, and for that, there’s no substitute for in-person interaction. That’s where bringing in a professional caregiver to supplement your home improvements can be the best of both worlds. A caregiver can provide that personal touch and can also monitor and track your parent’s health conditions.
If you’d like to learn more about how a caregiver can contribute to your care plan, get in touch! We’d love to learn more about your situation and see how we can help.