The older you get, the harder it can be to live by yourself at home.
This varies from individual to individual, but age can take a toll on minds and bodies that necessitates extra help. Of course, many people value their independence, which is why a senior living home may not be the best option. Senior apartments or other specialized living spaces can be a great way to provide independence and extra care to aging people.
However, loved ones and caretakers may want extra reassurance that a senior is healthy and safe, even if they live in a senior community or assisted living community. Given the fact that 24/7 homecare can get prohibitively expensive, home automation products can be an excellent investment. This is the core appeal of home automation for seniors: it allows them to live at home little to no supervision, while also allowing their loved ones to check in and ensure that they are safe.
One of the biggest dangers of a senior living by themselves is the possibility that they may wander from their home if they have dementia or a similar condition. With this condition, confusion and memory loss are common, and afflicted seniors risk getting lost in a potentially dangerous area. Installing some kind of monitoring system makes this a relatively simple problem to solve, provided you have the right device.
For example, if you are simply concerned that your loved one will get up in the middle of the night and potentially leave the home or are injured in a fall, you can use the sensors provided by Samsung’s SmartThings. These can be used to let you know if the senior has us up and moving around at all times of the day or night, which can be beneficial if you are concerned about their well-being at odd hours throughout the day.
As an additional bonus, it also monitors the temperature of the area it is in, meaning you will know if there is a problem with the heating and cooling unit of your senior’s home. If you buy a SmartThings Hub product, you can also make life easier on them: instead of having to flip a switch, a SmartThings Hub will use their motion as an indicator to switch a device on. This is particularly useful for lights, which can be hard to turn on manually, especially in the dark.
The Lok8U Freedom Watch does not provide as much versatility as Samsung’s SmartThings sensors, but it is perfect if you are worried about your loved one wandering away from home and getting lost. It has three features that make it appealing:
- Geo-fencing capability, which allows you to set up a safe zone area on the app. If your elderly loved one leaves that area, you will be notified.
- GPS capability, which means if you cannot locate the senior, the watch’s GPS allows you to identify where they are, and it can determine the watch’s location within 10 feet.
- A panic button, which can be used by the senior if they get in trouble.
The other most important part of making sure an elderly loved one is safe is making sure they are in good health. Several medical devices can help with this task.
First, there is Tricella’s Smart Pillbox, which keeps track of when someone has taken his or her medication. This is essentially a smart version of the normal pillbox: you program it to understand the senior’s schedule, and its sensors indicate when a pill has been removed from the pillbox. If medication is not being properly on schedule, this information can then be forwarded to the phone of a loved one or caretaker.
The Sen.se Mother can perform similarly, but its biggest advantage is its versatility. It has a variety of apps, which can track all sorts of activities from sleep patterns to when a door is opened, with all that information then being sent to your phone. For the purposes of medicine, the sensors can be attached to a pill bottle. This is a good product if you have several different areas you want to keep track of. The Sen.se Mother can be reprogrammed, allowing you to re-task it for different purposes suiting your needs, and having the same type of device serving these multiple functions can help your elderly loved one adjust to the new technology in their home. The Sen.se Mother will allow you to set tasks and reminders while tracking activities. The Sen.se Silver Mother offers specialized tasks for seniors to help give caretakers peace of mind.
More than simply checking if your loved one has taken their medicine, you may also want to keep tabs on how healthy they are at a given moment. There are two products on the market that allow you to do this, and each is designed to monitor a different vital function. The first is iHealth’s Gluco-Monitoring System, which is designed for diabetes patients. This device detect the level of sugar in the senior’s blood and provides a display that allows them to see how these levels of sugar compare to the levels it is recommended they maintain. This information can then be shared with healthcare professionals. The other device is the Blip Blood Pressure Monitor, which simply enough determines the senior’s blood pressure. This device is particularly suitable for its simplicity: a smartphone is not required, you only need to hit one button to get the blood pressure taken. The device will even send reminders to seniors to take their blood pressure as necessary. Given the fact that one-third of seniors have blood pressure problems, this device will be useful for many families.
Other Smart Home Products
A number of other smart home products designed for the general population are great tools that can be useful for seniors. Smart locks, for instance, can be useful if your senior has trouble locking themselves in or out of certain rooms. August Smart Lock Pro is a smart lock that opens based on your vicinity. This can allow a caretaker to open the door even if the senior is having trouble. Additionally, the lock will inform you when the door unlocks. This is also good if your senior forgets to lock the door, as it can be told to lock automatically when the senior leaves home.
Another Smart Home product is the Stove Guard CookStop. This is useful for seniors who may forget that they turned the stovetop on. If you leave the oven or stove going for a while and do not interact with it, the Stove Guard CookStop will automatically turn off. The amount of time that the device waits until shutting off is determined by the user, so it is good to plan for how long you are comfortable leaving the stove on before buying this device.
By Melanie Henson –