Connected Independence – Smart Homes for Seniors

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Now that we are homeowners, my husband has been obsessed with converting our home into a Smart Home. We have several of the devices that we can control remotely like light switches, thermostat, garage, and we got an Echo Show for Christmas, but it takes time to do it all. Last week, I attended “Connected Independence”, a Smart Home designed for seniors. It had me thinking about my own aging parents, and I also pictured myself using this technology when I’m not there to help them. “According to AARP, nearly 90% of adults ages 65+ prefer staying in their homes and aging in their homes rather than moving to an assisted living or retirement community…” We don’t really think about it, but it certainly makes sense. They’re just more comfortable being at home, forcing them to move could make them lonelier, and we want them to be happy.

To demonstrate some of the amazing things this new technology can do, Cox Communication collaborated with San Diego-based innovators, businesses and senior living experts. They converted a single-family home in Lake Forest with smart home technology and internet-enabled smart devices. A senior could live safely, independently, and more comfortably while giving their adult children and caregivers piece of mind. There were more than 35 interactive demos (powered by Cox Communications’ broadband network) which ran simultaneously at the same time. Here are some of the things we saw…

  1. Virtual reality – the Rendever virtual reality platform allows seniors to virtually “travel” to their favorite destinations if they are unable to physically.
  2. Telemedicine sessions – Trapollo telemedicine services let doctors diagnose and treat seniors from the comfort of their home.
  3. Double Robotics Telepresence Robot – Provides a way to check on older adults when their loved ones can’t be there in person. People can see and be seen as they steer the robot via remote control from anywhere in the world.
  4. “The future of caregiving” Demonstrations by Alison Jacobson, The Safety Mom, on how connected devices can assist with caregiving.
  5. Smart Window/Door Sensor – Wireless device detects when doors and windows are opened.
  6. Pill Dispensers – Helps seniors stay on schedule with their medications. Helps prevent forgotten dosages or mixed medications, and sends audible and visual alerts up to 30 minutes before pills are scheduled to be taken.
  7. Readable Voice Mail – Sends transcripts of voice messages to email.
  8. Clarity P300 Handset Landline Telephone – Makes sounds louder and easier to understand. Seniors can call people by pushing a photo button.
  9. GeniCan – Garbage can that scans items as they’re thrown away. The GeniCan app builds a shopping list based on what needs to be replaced, and schedules home delivery through Amazon Dash.
  10. Parrot Pot – Seniors never have to worry about their plants again. The Parrot Pot gives plants the right amount of water at the right time. This smart flowerpot has four sensors that monitor light, temperature, and soil moisture and fertilizer levels in real time. The simple app even has a database of over 8,000 plants to give seniors advice on how to help their favorite flowers thrive.
Go virtually anywhere in the world with Rendever virtual reality platform
Amazon Dash Buttons make it easier to quickly order an item when using your Amazon account.

Additional stations included a Wi-Fi Slow Cooker, Wi-Fi vacuum, Wi-Fi cat (Joy for All Orange Tabby Cat), electronic pet feeder, electronic fork that tracks eating habits, smart door locks and video cameras, glass break sensors, water/flood sensors, motion sensors and other safety devices. As you can imagine, you will need strong WiFi for all these things to work at the same time.

“Smart home technology can help families avoid the wrenching decision and the expense of moving an aging parent to an assisted living facility,” said Ryland Madison, director of product marketing, Cox Communications. “A connected home ensures seniors can continue their daily routine while maintaining – and even enhancing – their quality of life in their own home.”

I’m thinking about my aging parents, and right now they are semi-healthy and living independently, but they are in their 70’s and they live out of state. I hope that they move closer this way so my sisters and I can take care of them, but they like where they are at and they have my brothers. Converting their home into a smart home will definitely make it easier for all of us to check in on them when we can’t physically be there. (Sadly, we can’t just jump on a plane every time they are in the hospital.) Thankfully, my brothers are there, but what if they weren’t? Technology could help with that. Thank you, Cox Communication, for sponsoring this post and inviting us to see the demonstrations. For more information, please visit their website at www.cox.com/residential/home.html.

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