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Someone has rightly said that man growing old becomes a child again’. I cannot agree more because I have seen my parents undergo that transition in life. I am always looking for devices and gadgets that are easy to use and help them stay connected without getting into technical complexities.
While we usually associate smart products with the younger generation and those who are technically savvy, my personal experience says they are a boon for the elderly people in the family. Trust me, no one wants to spend the rest of their lives in an old age home.
If you are worried about your aged parents’ safety because your job requires you to travel often, consider building a smart home for them. The smart gadgets can automate a plethora of things at home, so your parents can let the gadgets do a large part of the daily chores and stay safe too.
In the past, people had to use an app on the Smartphone or laptop to activate and control the smart gadgets, so this was not an option for my not-so technically savvy parents. However, the voice-controlled speakers have completely changed the scenario.
Now, even my grandma can give commands to Alexa to open the blinds, raise the house temperature, or answer the call. I also find this feature incredibly useful for my mom who has mobility issues caused by back pain. She can now perform so many activities without having to move around the house physically.
The voice-controlled speakers that come with Google Assistant or Amazon Echo are also effective communication tools to help elderly people talk to family members with ease. The new touchscreen also enables video calling via voice-command without requiring a separate app for that.
I find the voice-activated video calling extremely useful for the elderly as they can call for help in situations of medical emergencies. The speakers boast a powerful range that can pick voice-commands from a distance so if an elderly person falls accidentally or is unwell, he/ she can still initiate a video call for help.
The smart doorbell equipped with video surveillance, microphones and speakers provide extra security for the elderly people staying alone. They can help seniors communicate with visitors without opening the door or just let people know they are on the way.
For seniors with hearing impaired, vibration alerts can be set on their smartphone so that they can be alerted when someone’s at the door. If there are suspicious visitors, they can record visitors on their smartphone and alert trusted ones.
If like me you have elderly parents who live alone at home, this is a must buy. These are smart devices with motion sensors to detect any unusual activity in the house. If the sensors detect any unnatural activity, they automatically send alerts to the family members and trusted people.
For example, if the motion sensors detect a sudden motion and no movement after that, this could suggest a fall. The instant alerts make it possible to send medical assistance without any delay.
Automated Thermostats & Lights
While these smart gadgets are useful for people of all ages, their especially helpful for the elderly as they don’t need to get up from their seat to switch on the lights or fall accidentally as they enter an unlit room. You can also remotely control their smart lights from your smartphone app.
Smart thermostats are yet another boon for my aged parents. My mom particularly loves this device because she gets uncomfortable when the temperature is too hot or cold. She can now give voice commands and tell Alexa to increase or decrease the temperature.
This not only gives more security to the elderly living alone but also helps in reducing the utility bills. You can also set schedules so that the lights turn on when the sun sets and smart thermostats with sensors can detect when the temperature is too high or low, and adjust accordingly.
Elderly people often need to take several pills for various medical conditions as they age. Needless to mention, they despise this. I found myself constantly worrying about my Dad forgetting to take his thyroid or blood pressure pills, so finally I got the smart pillbox.
This amazing device sends me a smartphone notification every time he forgets to take his pills. What I like best about this device is that it also send notifications if your loved ones take the wrong medicine. This gives me the peace of mind from knowing that he has had his pills without having to ask every time.
I am extremely pleased with this purchase because smart locks rely on codes instead of keys. So, this has eliminated the ey hunting’ activity in the family. I also do not have to worry about my parents being locked outside the house simply because they misplaced the key.
If your elderly parents have arthritis, the smart lock can be easier to handle as they come with lever-style door handle instead of a knob- design. You can also control the smart locks using your smartphone app to double check the door and ensure the seniors at home are safe.
My aging parents often get frustrated when they can’t remember when they left the house keys. It’s normal to get anxious and forgetful when you are past 60, I don’t want them to panic when I am away so getting a key finder has eliminated this unwanted stress.
If you are looking for a key finder, I would recommend the Esky Wireless Key Finder that locates up to four different keys if misplaced. The powerful radio frequency can get through floors, walls, leather, and cushions to find lost keys up to 30 meters away. It works with Bluetooth device and can also be connected to a smartphone.
Wi-Fi Enabled Refrigerators
The smart refrigerators can do a lot more than keep your food fresh. It can track the grocery list and send the list of items needed to a grocery store near you. I use the app on behalf of my elderly parents to see what’s in there and what is needed. It also sends notifications when the refrigerator needs maintenance.
For me, the safety of my elderly parents comes first and the advanced video camera systems give me a perfect solution for monitoring their welfare even while I am away. Some of these cameras can even capture images in the dark so if you want to ensure your parents are okay, you just need to check the mobile app.
As a person ages, the body becomes fragile and elderly people tend to easily lose their balance while walking. Several home improvement products have been designed to prevent falls. With smart devices riding the wave of popularity, smart footwear that monitor balance and movements are on the rise.
One such product called the smart Path Feel insoles was displayed at the 2018 Consumer Electronics Show. They don’t need a smartphone app as they contain GPS locator and cellular chip. If you have seniors at home, this is a good investment for their safety. They will be available in the US later this year.
When we hear smartwatch, we usually associate it with the young and active. But, trust me, the seniors need it more to stay healthy and live independently. I hope more manufacturers and marketers will realize this and promote smartwatches as a safety device for the elderly.
The smartwatches can be used to track the fitness level, heart rate and even count calories consumed by the seniors to help them watch what they eat. Do I need to say more? It can motivate the elderly to blow off the dust from their walking shoes and take more steps every day towards better health.
Go to Amazon to find smart watches by brands like Samsung, Fitbit, Apple, and Garmin. I personally prefer Samsung Gear Fit2 Pro for its features like water-resistance, Bluetooth enabled, location tracking, automatic activity detection, and wireless charging that make it a hassle-free device for seniors.
Smart Occupancy Sensors
If your parents are not comparable with video cameras prying on them all day, the smart occupancy sensors can be a good alternative. They have a similar technology used in burglar alarms to send notifications about unusual movements within the house.
The advanced smart occupancy sensors can also detect deviations from normal routine. So if your mom is found sleeping in odd hours which is unusual, you may get a notification to check on her to ensure everything is okay. They can even control lights to prevent elderly people from stumbling in a dark room.
Smart Two-way Communication Device
May parents often have trouble using FaceTime, Skype and other sophisticated apps for chatting so that led me to look for a solution and I found the Nucleus Anywhere Intercom on Amazon. What I really appreciate about this smart communication device is that you can use it as an intercom to call your loved ones in the other room or in another city.
If your parents are like mine who dislike technical hassles, simplify two-way communication for them by getting the Nucleus. It comes with a touchscreen and a camera to help you make voice or video calls. You can also connect it to your smartphone via a mobile app.
To make things better, Nucleus is compatible with Amazon’s voice assistant Alexa so you can give voice commands to Nucleus and access other Alexa capabilities. Unlike Skype or Facetime that may still need some configuration, Nucleus helps your elderly parents connect with you within minutes.
You can connect to your home at any time without requiring someone to answer the call, to keep an eye on your elderly parents or kids. This gives you a peace of mind knowing and actually seeing that your parents are safe with your eyes. This truly adds an organic aspect to conversations and ensures the safety of seniors living alone at home.
Please remember that when your parents grow old, they don’t like the feeling of being dependent on others or not being able to live their life to the fullest. By building a smart home, you can give them an amazing gift that boosts their self-confidence by allowing them to do most of the things themselves.
Apart from adding convenience to their lives, many smart devices mentioned above also ensure their safety, especially when they are alone. From alerting you about intruders and unusual activities to helping you connect to parent’s living area instantly without waiting for someone to answer the call takes safety to a different height altogether.
Growing old should be fun and senior citizens have the right to live a respectable life in the way they love instead of being sent to an old age home! I have used several of these products to make my smart home a safer haven for my elderly parents.
Even when I am out of the city, I can now enjoy my peace of mind knowing that the main door is locked securely, Dad has taken his medicines, and everything at home is perfectly normal, just like it should be!