How Having a Smart Home Can Help You Maintain Independence11 minute read

11 minute read

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Updated for December, 2018

Years ago, the list of items available to make your home more accessible may have only included accessories that helped customers move around more freely in their household without assistance from friends, loved ones, or nurses.

smart home system on mobile phone

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As we all consider ways to counter difficulties that may arise during the process of aging, these convenience can be welcome additions to the structure of a home. With them, everyday activities can become considerably less time consuming and stress-inducing.

With the advent of new technologies, however, a growing industry of devices which utilize wireless internet can help ensure that a large number of your daily tasks can be automated or controlled with discretion via a smart phone, tablet, computer or even voice commands. A healthy network of these devises can render your house a “smart home”, where you control the convenience of these cutting-edge technologies according to your preferences, allowing you to take command of your day-to-day engagements. Furthermore, you can spend less time on your feet, as your new environment can easily be controlled by your touch or your voice.

You’d be amazed at the options available to save you time and effort while you spend time in your home and even while you’re away.

It can be fairly easy to begin testing your comfortability with living in a smart home. In fact, you may already be able to look around your home and identify devices with “smart” capabilities. You may have a television with the capability to stream programs from the internet, lights that interact with an app, or a doorbell with a video camera to help you identify who is outside your door with a digital display.

All these devices include technologies that fit into the ecosystem of a smart home. With a bit of planning and a few adjustments, you can increase the utility of these devices by enhancing their connectivity and compatibility.

You’d be amazed at the options available to save you time and effort while you spend time in your home and even while you’re away.

There are many functions aimed directly at seniors

The amount of devices designed with “smart” compatibility in mind can certainly be bewildering. Due to this, you may be having a difficult time deciding where to begin when considering the best entry-point to enjoying the benefits of a smart home. If so, then a great question to ask yourself could be “Which devices have a direct benefit to my lifestyle as a senior?”

Rather than devices which provide value through entertainment or luxury, you may find it more worth your while to invest in technologies geared toward your health and safety.

Woman using smart home app

You can program your devices to handle themselves automatically

Ever wish you didn’t have to get up to turn on a coffee maker, start warming up your car on a cold morning or change the temperature of your thermostat in the middle of the night? Ever wished you could time the lights in your home while you’re away to ward off the threat of criminals who might be preying on homes left unattended?

The key is finding the right set of devices for you and your loved ones.

A well connected “smart home” doesn’t only give you the option to control various tasks throughout your home. Many applications that are native to smart products also allow you to program them to handle themselves or even make suggestions to you on more efficient ways to run their programs.

That way, whether you are home or away, you won’t have to fret over the flip of a light, in the case that you’ve already delegated the task to a smart home program beforehand.

Smart speaker

A smart home can enhance your entertainment experience

Although a smart home can be a fantastic tool for seniors to increase the accessibility around their home in regards to utility, chores, security and other task-based systems, let’s not kid ourselves: smart homes can be fun!

When alone you can have the advantage of an entertainment system that displays a level of connectivity that streamlines your television, music, and movie experience. You can entertain guests with wireless speakers, changing television channels without lifting a finger, or sharing files and information between your computer, phone, or tablet across the screens in your home.

The possibilities can greatly impact both work and play! And there’s certainly nothing wrong with having a good time with your technology.

Energy savings

Smart homes don’t just save you time and effort. In the long run, they could save you money and help save the environment.

While integration into using products with smart capabilities can cost a great deal on the front end, many of them come with energy saving modes and automations devised to save you money over time.

There are even smart faucet and pool technologies aimed at altering your water consumption. Smart thermostats, motion sensor lights, energy efficient bulbs, and other products are commonly found items produced to shave dollars off your electric bill, as well as your environmental footprint.

While there are many great advantages to smart homes, there are several key considerations to assess before opting to install these items in and around your home.

While there are many great advantages to smart homes, there are several key considerations to assess before opting to install these items in and around your home.

Businessman using tablet

Web security

Many smart products aim to keep you safe within the walls of your home, but some of them could open you up to threats to your cyber security.

Experienced cyber hackers and criminals may be able to manipulate devices in your home to access your precious information, causing potential harm to you and your identity. A hacker can even gain control of your devices, re-arrange its functions or use it to spy on you in your home.

This is why it is important to ask detailed questions about the security settings available for even the least sophisticated smart devices, including timed lights and thermostats, if they are connected to your home’s internet.

Costs

Like most technologies on the cutting edge, the entry fee for most smart devices can be steep. The exponential growth of the industry means that competition in the smart home market may eventually drive prices down. However, for now, you can count on a smart home being a pretty large investment-especially, if you have to hire someone to hook your devices up and maintain them when things go wrong.

Learning curve

While the convenience of a complex system of devices and programs working together to make your everyday life easier may sound particularly delightful, it might be easy to overlook the reality that not all technology is user friendly. For those who may not be comfortable with various screen-based devices, such as phones, tablets and computers, the learning curve associated with the interactivity of a smart home can prove to be quite dubious.

Furthermore, some devices might enhance the issues they aim to correct or create new problems, altogether. For instance, a device such as an automatic medicine dispenser may become a stressful source of constant upkeep for a homeowner unable to work it properly or understand its use fully. A screen-based device can be rendered useless in the hands of a user with poor vision. Similarly, a device that requires vocal commands may become tiring to a user who prefers a quiet living environment.

Even for the most tech-savvy consumers, setup, installation and compatibility can become tough to tackle. With every device added to your system of smart devices, the question of compatibility may come into play. In the instance that a single item isn’t able to play nicely with the existing items in your home or the devices you use to control it, its inherent utility may diminish.

The key is finding the right set of devices for you and your loved ones.