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Smarter Homes for Seniors: How Technology is Enabling Independence

While older adults may not share the younger generation’s enthusiasm for technology, smart devices offer significant benefits to enhance their lives. Most smart devices have been designed for easy operation, and with some training and practice, any age can enjoy the benefits smart home devices can deliver. 

Holding on to their independence is highly prized by the elderly. If technology can be used to keep them in their own home longer, it’s worth pursuing further. We’re going to look at which smart home devices can deliver on that promise. And the bonus, smart home devices bring peace of mind to their carers, whether that’s family or medical support workers.

This guide to smart home devices for the elderly is for the family member or caregiver. It’s to help when considering the technology options available to support an older adult’s decision to live independently, in a home of their choice. 

For the elderly, what does a smart home look like?

Smart home devices are not a substitute for direct caregiving, but they can be reliable tools in situations where personal attendance is not feasible. These smart devices can be put to work to simplify daily tasks, enhance safety and allow for monitoring of loved ones from a distance. 

For example, let’s consider a voice-activated home assistant like Amazon Alexa or Google Home, integrated with a smart lighting and smart aircon system. With a simple voice command, lighting and temperature can be switched on or off, without the need to move around. This reduces the risk of falls, especially common in the dark.

Or a video camera doorbell. Now the occupant can see who is at the door without opening it, ensuring only known visitors are given access. A safety feature, making everyone feel at ease. 

Small, wireless cameras can be strategically placed in spots like the kitchen and hallways, allowing for occasional monitoring to check on the well-being of the occupant. 

With these smart home devices installed, not only are daily tasks more manageable but they afford a greater sense of control to the elderly individual. A huge confidence step for them and their carers!

husband and wife at home looking at the smart home app at the kitchen table

Which smart home devices are beneficial to seniors?

We’ve supplied and installed smart home devices in senior citizen’s homes throughout Brisbane. It’s given us the opportunity to see the real impact these devices have on the elderly person’s lifestyle and the confidence they feel as a result. These are the most popular devices we’ve installed and the benefits they’ve delivered. 

Video Camera Doorbells:

Unfortunately, the elderly can be easy targets for break ins. The smart doorbell is the first line of defence at the front door. It deters burglars, knowing they are being videotaped. And being able to see who’s at the door without opening it enhances safety instantly. 

For individuals with mobility issues, moving to answer the door poses challenges and risks. A video camera doorbell equipped with two-way audio allows them to communicate directly with the person at the door, without having to physically go to the door. This is particularly helpful with frequent visitors like home care providers, friends, or family members, making it easier for them to know who is at the door without needing to leave their safe and comfortable position. 

Smart Lighting:

Smart lighting can greatly enhance the safety of elderly people in their homes by creating well-lit spaces automatically, thereby reducing the risk of trips and falls. With motion sensors, smart lights automatically turn on when movement is detected, ensuring that rooms and hallways are well-lit when needed. This feature is especially helpful at night when getting up to go to the bathroom. No need to walk in the dark or search for the light switch. 

Additionally, smart lighting can be controlled remotely through smartphones or voice commands, making it easier for elderly individuals to manage their lighting without having to move around unnecessarily. 

Or programme them to turn on and off at set times, in commonly frequented parts of the house, such as the kitchen and bathroom. 

These safety features also deliver cost saving benefits. No more lights being left on overnight, using up energy unnecessarily.

Smart Door Locks:

Smart locks provide benefits of security and convenience to seniors at home. 

Imagine not needing physical keys anymore. No keys means no lost keys. And also means the spare key doesn’t need to be left outside for an unwanted person to find it. 

For some adults, especially those with arthritis, turning a key to open a door can be challenging. A digital door lock doesn’t need to be turned. Instead entry is by entering a code on a pin pad or install the fingerprint enabled model and simply use the finger for entry. 

The convenience of a digital door lock to family, carers and friends can’t be overstated. Being able to provide a code to familiar people not only is a security upgrade but also a safety benefit. A familiar person lets themselves in with their own code, the elderly person doesn’t need to walk to the door which for some can pose a physical risk. 

A code doesn’t need to be forever. Codes can be assigned for a set period of time, like a day or even a few hours. And it’s possible to delete someone’s code at any point in time, if they suddenly become a security risk. Same with a fingerprint.

If wandering is a concern for the family or support worker, a digital door lock is helpful to determine movements. When the occupant opens the front door, a notification of their exit is sent to your smartphone, alerting the carer instantly. Now you can take action before it becomes a problem. 

smart door lock with multiple codes installed by smarter home australia

Wireless Security Camera Systems:

Feeling secure is a fundamental need of life, no matter the age. Seniors however, feel more vulnerable than most. This makes a wireless security camera system one of our most requested installations in Brisbane. We’ve installed these for all kinds of residents – in units, houses, townhouses. The peace of mind it brings is invaluable.

For seniors with hearing loss, the inability to hear alarms, doorbells or potential threats amplifies the feeling of insecurity. With a security camera system in place, alerts of an unwanted visitor are now received on the smartphone via the app. Being able to hear is no longer an impediment to feel secure. 

Smart Air Conditioners:

It’s common for an elderly individual to be more sensitive to cold and heat. Installing a smart air conditioner which can be controlled via a smartphone app or voice command can bring relief and comfort throughout the year. 

If the home already has a split system air conditioner, upgrading it to a smart model is straightforward. Now it can be set to automatically adjust whenever the room temperature reaches a certain point, whether that is hot or cold. 

Smart Garage & Gate Openers:

A garage or gate can add another layer of security to a home if the mechanism to operate it isn’t made easily accessible. We noticed in many cases the remote to operate the garage is placed near the door in the garage, making it very easy for an intruder to use and exit. Installing a smart garage opener eliminates this possibility. Now the garage doesn’t need a separate remote. Operate it from the smartphone app or through voice command if it’s integrated with a smart home assistant.  . 

The same applies to a smart gate opener. 

There is no doubt that a gate and garage provide improved security but make sure they are operated in a secure manner. 

smart garage door opener app installed by smarter homes australia

Smart Home Assistants:

Elderly individuals can feel uncomfortable or confused with technology. Asking them to control their home through an app, or more likely with multiple apps, can be a daunting task. This is where a smart home assistant can do most of the heavy lifting. If all you need to do is teach them how to operate a single interface, your job will be that much easier. 

The beauty of setting up a smart home assistant is the voice command feature. It still takes some time for anyone, including the elderly, to get used to instructing a computer to help, but once they learn how easy it is, they tend to embrace this feature fully. 

Our recommendation is Google Home or Amazon Alexa, owing to their compatibility with most of the smart home devices we install. And we can help with the training and education. With experience installing home assistants in seniors homes across Brisbane and Sth East Qld, we have answers to many of the common questions asked. 

How Smarter Homes Australia is helping seniors enjoy independent living in their own homes

Our expertise is in providing cost effective, tailored smart home solutions to fit the needs of the individual or family. We bring years of experience installing a range of home automation and home security systems to homes, units and townhouses for the elderly all over Brisbane and the wider region of Sth East QLD. We can do the same for you. 

If you’re not sure which smart devices are suitable to secure your elder’s home or make living an independent life at home possible, we offer free quotes. We’ll visit the home, assess the situation and provide you with the most cost effective plan to bring safety and convenience to the resident. Please contact us and schedule your free quote or installation today. 

Smart Home Solutions for the Elderly FAQs

  • Privacy for the elderly is extremely important. How can I ensure their privacy isn’t compromised? 

Senior citizens are often targeted by online scammers and hackers. To reduce the risk, it’s important to teach them about the dangers of suspicious links from unknown people or businesses. Scammers are always devising new methods, so it’s essential to keep our seniors vigilant and frequently remind them to exercise caution, particularly when prompted to disclose personal details. The best tip for protecting privacy is to have a secure password. One that makes it hard, if not impossible, to crack. The recommendation is to create a password with a combination of uppercase, lowercase, numbers and symbols.

  • Do you work with NDIS participants?

Yes we do, all the time. Refer to our specific guide to NDIS participants for more information.

  • Where do I find technical advice after the installation?

We’re well-known for providing thorough training on the products we install. On the installation day, we take care of the complete setup, programming, and offer a thorough tutorial, which is included in the installation cost. Should additional training be needed in the future, our team is available to provide on-site instruction for an additional charge.

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