Home automation is using technology to have housework or household activities completed automatically, with little to no intervention from the user. (Sometimes called a ‘smart home’.) It allows an individual to have remote control of the technology performing the activities. The goal of home automation is to help create a home that is easier, more enjoyable and safe to live in.
Home automation for the elderly or disabled (also known as assistive domotics) has the same goal, but also adds making a senior’s home more safe, allowing them to stay in their home longer.1
Why aging in place?Aging in place is a growing movement that focuses on keeping seniors in their homes longer as they age. One core element of aging in place is allowing a person to maintain their quality of life. By combining home automation with the age in place idea, seniors can enjoy a more comfortable experience in their home, as well as increase home safety or other objectives.
What situations can home automation help improve?
Home automation for aging in place can help improve a persons’ quality of life, especially when combined with other types of technology. Granted, many of the current solutions for some of the examples below are not perfect (nor are they tried and true). However, the technology that supports these activities is rapidly changing. Home automation can help accomplish many tasks and will only improve in the years to come.
- Remote Monitoring
- Medication reminders
- Daily medical testing
- Remote medical consultation
- Medical care coordination
Long distance care giving
- Family caregiving coordination
- Fighting loneliness or depression
- Fall prevention
There are also side benefits for seniors who implement home automation. Since the base of a home automation system is a network, it opens up a world of possibilities for amenities.
Entertainment : Video and audio can be present in every room in the form of stored or Internet movies, home videos, photos or music.
Connectivity : Internet enabled devices can also be put on the home network, such as email-only devices, televisions, streaming media players and others.
Internet activities : For seniors that enjoy being online, there are also a slew of Internet activities for them to enjoy from computers, laptops, tablets or phones, such as online games, social networks or other web sites.
Home automation for seniors
For decades, people have been dreaming of “the automated home of the future,” with many conceptualized ideas of just what that would look like. Worlds Fairs, movies and even Disney have taken a stab at crafting a vision of what it might look like. Though not a new concept, it is one that is finally gaining some traction. Early systems were too difficult for the average person to use, lacked functionality and were too expensive to be feasible for the general public. Systems and components are now more affordable (and more readily available). There are also more systems in the marketplace, which has created an environment of competition.
As a result of more companies and products in the marketplace in the last few years, there are even more installers available in communities across the country. To date, we’ve seen electricians, home audio, general contractors and even physicians who have gotten involved in home automation for the elderly. It’s easier now than ever to get a system installed and you don’t have to perform a major home remodeling project to take advantage of it. There is so much you can do to improve your quality of life with the technology currently available.
What can home automation do for seniors?
Home automation can help seniors with daily tasks, but also help them as individuals as their capabilities decline.
We all forget things from time to time and, as we grow older, many people experience this to a greater degree. This ‘forgetfulness’ can lead to serious safety issues, which is why having a good way to remember and/or remind seniors about important things is crucial.
- Leaving on a coffee pot or stove
- Medication reminders
- Exterior or interior doors being left open and automatic door locks.
- Medication monitoring?
Personal Emergency Response Systems (PERS) : Simply, an emergency button that immediately notifies family, friends or authorities of an emergency.
Eyesight & Hearing : Audible and visual alarms on doors, doorbell, fire or smoke detectors or appliances.
Fall monitoring : We’ve already mentioned that falls cause more senior injuries and pose a great danger in the home.
Temperature : Control the home temperature. Alarms/notification if temp ranges or settings are changed
Video monitoring : For security & safety, the inside and outside of the home can be monitored, including remote viewing.
More on Home Automation
Home automation is not a fad. Quite the contrary, this technology will continue to progress and provide even more ways to improve the quality of our lives. We are committed to grow this home automation resource to include more options for you and your loved ones. Check back soon for more.
If you are a home automation specialist and would like to contribute to this new resource, please contact us.
1 Wikipedia – Home Automation for the Elderly and Disabled