Smart Homes Helping Caregivers Monitor Seniors

Smart Home technology has been helping make life easier for caregivers by introducing features to monitor seniors living alone.

A pilot project by Vivint Smart Home and electronics giant Best Buy has been created to help track seniors’ movements and activities in their homes.

Some of the features also make life more comfortable for seniors including voice-activation for locking doors, turning on lights, activating cameras and adjusting the thermostat.

One of the biggest attractions for seniors to have these elements active in their homes has been how easy it is to use. While for caregivers it has become a way of monitoring what is happening in the home without having to be there.

Jane Helgesen and her daughter, Britt, have found the system to be life-changing. Bloomberg reports that it was able to track and send notifications to Britt when her mother was sick.

The publication also reported that about three in four caregivers have indicated they would like to use technology to make their lives easier but only seven per cent have done it.

Many companies have been moving into the seniors’ smart home space including Lively, which was recently bought by GreatCall, and HoneyCo, which has also become a popular name in the industry after being hyped by CNET.

Smart Home products have been on the market for years, but it is only recently that companies have started to bundle them together, offer installation and even monitoring services to attract caregivers.

Another advantage has been some systems ability to “learn” routine behaviour and activity, making it possible to notify a caregiver if anything changes. It was life-saving in the case of 82-year-old Amelia Dean, whose Smart Home system has the capability to send messages to her daughter’s phone.

The cost of a system can vary but has been estimated to be about $400 USD. Installation is also offered but it is usually an extra $200 USD. Monthly monitoring is offered for around $29 USD.

However, products are also available individually, allowing users to customize their homes. Some of the most popular elements include environmental controls and sensors, which can keep the home at a comfortable temperature and humidity level. Door cameras have also become a welcome feature of the homes as they allow seniors to unlock the door using their smartphone. Another noteworthy feature has been Bed sensors, which are capable of tracking heart rate, sleep duration and even how many times the user gets in and out of bed.

These types of technologies have been enabling seniors to stay in their homes longer without sacrificing safety. They allow older adults to maintain their independence while giving caregivers a peace of mind.

Written By Chandra Lye

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