Advances in smart home technology mean that everyone can benefit from a more connected home, but with an ageing population, a smart home could be an invaluable resource to improve the health and wellbeing of your elderly family members.
With one in five people in the UK aged 65 and over, a quarter of us have a duty of care to a senior family member, and most of us are worried about things that might happen to them in their more vulnerable stage of life.
As people get older, mobility and efficiency in everyday life naturally decrease; our bones get more fragile, aches and pains rifer, forgetfulness more common. So, wouldn’t it be great if our older family members could take back some of the independence they’ve lost, or delay it being lost in the first place?
Smart home technology can work to support greater individual choice and autonomy through the intelligent use and interconnection of devices and appliances, and we’ll tell you how.
1. Enhanced everyday tasks.
On the very basic levels, we want to ensure our elderly family members have control over their environment with adequate lighting, heating, and entertainment to ensure their basic needs are met.
They might already have this, but these somewhat simple processes for able adults can be improved with the ability to control lighting with customised settings, for example, the room light to be turned off, curtains drawn and lamp turned on when it starts to get dark, or even for the central heating to be turned on with the Alexa voice assistant while they’re engrossed in their favourite TV programme, saving them the walk to the thermostat. Their home is very often where they spend most of their time so creating a comfortable sanctuary is key.
2. Disasters prevented before they happen.
Carbon monoxide, flood and smoke sensors can detect danger before it occurs with alarms being activated, and alerts sent to your smart device. If the levels of carbon monoxide, gas or water become dangerous, the smart home system will automatically shut off the gas or water in the house with valve controllers to try to prevent the disaster from worsening.
We all forget things, no matter what age we are. Perhaps the oven wasn’t switched off after cooking, or they forgot to lock the door. From your smart device, you can switch off any appliances that aren’t being used, or lock their front door remotely, no matter where you are. Safety can be maximised further by setting up Amazon’s personal assistant, Alexa, to alert a care network when there is an emergency.
When, for example, your elderly relative says “help” to Alexa, a primary caregiver is notified, and if they can’t be reached, the next listed caregiver is alerted; useful if your relative is prone to falls. It’s possible to customise your smart home security and automation with a wide range of personalised options and settings. For example, you can be notified when your loved one leaves the house, or when there is a prolonged period of inactivity which could indicate a fall, or even indicate depression if they’re spending more time than usual in bed.
3. Protected, even while they sleep.
Around-the-clock monitoring means that any unusual or potentially dangerous activity is detected quickly, and protection continues even when sleeping. Not only this, but thanks to artificial intelligence, certain devices and appliances actually learn behaviour meaning that it’s possible to notice if your elderly family member hasn’t risen from bed in their usual time slot, or even detecting that the fridge hasn’t been opened today. Have they forgotten to eat? As their caretaker, you are alerted of any unusual activity so you can call in to check they’re okay. You can check when they’ve arrived home from the shops and gain peace of mind instantly.
Video monitoring can ensure that your loved ones are safe, plus check that any caregivers are attending to your loved one with the appropriate dignity and respect. Some elderly relatives like to stay on the move; after all, it’s good to stay active, which is where the 24-hour-monitored pendant comes in handy too. The pendant, that comes with our Elderly Care Plan allows for caregivers to be alerted if they fall at home or away.
4. Boosted level of security.
Ensure your elderly relatives are safe at home with doorbell monitoring. If any bogus or unwanted sales callers ring the doorbell, your loved one can see who’s there on their smart device before they answer their door; as can you from your smart device. Either one of you can speak to any visitors with two-way talking to discover whether their services are welcome, or perhaps just to tell the postman to leave their parcel with a neighbour is no-one is home.
5. Reminded and entertained to boost everyday living.
Unfortunately, as we get older, forgetfulness becomes more commonplace. Some older people are diagnosed with dementia or Alzheimer’s; all of which can hinder safety and security. Amazon’s Alexa is ideal to remind your elderly relatives to take medication, have something to eat or drink more water.
Aside from gentle nudges, Alexa is perfect for playing their favourite TV programmes or music. They could even listen to the latest news headlines or audiobooks; especially useful for those affected by sight loss.
Whilst older people aren’t as familiar with modern digital technology, let alone smart home technology, with the help of their loved ones, they can feel supported living independently. Following the initial set up carried out professionally by an installer, smart home technology works seamlessly in the background without the homeowner having to do much at all.
The Elderly Cover Plan is completely customisable so levels of privacy and surveillance can be controlled. Perhaps video monitoring isn’t necessary, but motion detection is. Some older people prefer to stay active having manual control over their devices. Any appliance can be armed or disarmed with a setting that suits you and your family. The Elderly Cover Plan aims to support individual needs and requirements plus the terms remain flexible throughout. They understand things change so you won’t be tied down to any contracts.
It’s difficult to lose independence, no matter what stage of life you are at, and many older people often want as little disruption to their lives as possible.
Not only would smart home security and automation give you peace of mind knowing your loved ones have more support, but it will also make your elderly relatives less vulnerable, enhance their quality of life and boost their independence. It’s life as they know it, just better.