“My mother is adamant about staying in her own home. I have a caregiver to stay with her during the week, but I am concerned about her safety when she is alone. I’ve read about some families using smart technology for seniors to monitor what’s going on. What can you tell me about this trend and how it can help?” – Suzanne from Dunwoody

Seniors who insist on staying home can be struggling with a loss of independence, and you as well as other adult children may feel guilty or anxious about how to balance that independence with safety. If your loved one is not convinced that assisted living is the right choice, you have options to make aging in place realistic by using the latest technology to monitor their health and protect them from elder abuse. Some of the new products are affordable, while others may require professional installation, monitoring, or customization. Here are a few of the types of smart technology for seniors that you may find helpful.

  • Video doorbell: This security product can protect your vulnerable loved one from door-to-door scams. With a video doorbell, your senior can see, hear, and speak to someone without opening the door and home to a stranger.
  • Digital thermostat: Seniors are notoriously sensitive to temperature changes because their bodies cannot regulate as they once did. A digital thermostat can be controlled by either voice or smart phone to set and monitor indoor temperatures for safety as well as comfort, which can be a godsend during the hottest and coldest months of the year. 
  • Programmable light switches: These go beyond the traditional light timers that you plug into a wall. You can find switches that can even be controlled by smart phone while away from the home to reduce the risk of your senior falling in a poorly-lit room.
  • Automatic door and cabinet lifts: These renovations can improve mobility and access within the home. Imagine having a cabinet that adjusts to your senior’s height or range of motion as well as doors that open conveniently for people with gross motor limitations.
  • Voice-activated clock: Your loved one can stay oriented with a clock that gives them reminders for daily activities such as bathing or taking medicine. The best part is that these clocks can be recorded in family members’ voices so your senior can feel connected to loved ones whenever the clock alarm sounds.
  • Stovetop cook-stop: For seniors who still prepare their own food, this product can be extremely important. It is essentially a stovetop alarm system that can alert you if the stove is left on for too long or unattended, and it can also turn off the stove for you. Consider it as a part of your fire safety equipment, along with functional fire alarms and a fire extinguisher in the home. 
  • Smart pill dispenser: Staying on top of multiple prescriptions can be a challenge for caregivers as well as seniors. These products can be set with flashing lights or audio reminders, and they can also be programmed to only open one compartment at a time, reducing the risk of your senior taking medication incorrectly.
  • Home assistant: You may have one of these smart devices in your own home, but home assistants can be invaluable for seniors. These products can play music, read books, make phone calls, and even control some of the other smart devices with simple voice commands. They can also be linked to a tablet or smart phone, which can give you a way to help your loved one when you are not with them in person.
  • Monitoring and alert system: These systems are like personal emergency response systems, only they do more than sound when a senior falls. They can provide reminders, healthy monitoring, social interaction, and emergency alerts, all through an easy-to-use dashboard system on your computer or tablet.

As you can see, you have lots of choices of smart technology for seniors that can meet your needs and fit in your budget. You can start small with only a few changes to help your loved one adjust before you move on to any system that is more comprehensive. Luckily, most are user-friendly and simple to use for both you and your senior.

Keep in mind that technology is always changing, so it wouldn’t hurt to do a little research once or twice a year to see what is new on the market that may make your senior’s life easier.

Good luck!


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