Seniors and Technology
Today’s technology offers opportunities for your home to be a more manageable one. An influx of affordable new tools with simple user interfaces can help seniors stay connected, comfortable, and safe. Here are a few “smart” gadgets and how they can work for you.
Of all the technological innovations that have come out of this decade, none have simplified computing as much as tablets. Instead of presenting complex windowed operating systems and requiring constant technical maintenance, tablets combine the great functionality of the classic desktop PC into a simple, intuitive user interface that you can operate purely on touch.
That interface is especially beneficial to seniors who might lack the vision or fine motor skills to operate a traditional computer. With fantastic accessibility settings and easy-to-use apps, tablets are unparalleled in their ability to keep you connected, and they work seamlessly with wireless internet connections.
Smart Lighting Systems
Updating your light bulbs might not sound like the most exciting upgrade, but many of the new technologies found in today’s smart bulbs can be tremendously useful for seniors in a variety of ways.
At their most basic, these smart light bulbs work just like typical bulbs, except that they connect wirelessly to a mobile app on a smartphone or tablet. The app allows you to easily control your lights from anywhere, without even getting up to hit the switch. With the user-friendly dials, you can adjust brightness and color tone, and many people find it helpful to schedule their lamps to turn on automatically (or set to a night light mode during normal sleeping hours).
These bulbs can also help you interact with your environment in some compelling new ways, especially when paired with other smart devices. Set them to change to a certain color as a daily reminder to take medicines or stretch, flash when the doorbell is ringing, or, with the help of a smart smoke alarm, light the way to safety during a fire emergency.
A relatively recent innovation, voice-activated assistants like those found on a tablet, smartphone, smart speaker (like the Amazon Echo), or even your TV remote can present a powerful set of tools using the simplest interface imaginable—your own voice.
These assistants can make everyday tasks simpler, encompassing everything from changing the channel on the TV to calling a loved one with a simple voice command. Since they integrate easily with smart lights and other devices, they can also make life easier for those who are bed-bound or have limited mobility. A verbal command to a nightstand speaker can dim the lights, unlock a door, and even call for help in the event of an emergency.
With a Wi-Fi–enabled home security system, you can get the benefits of video monitoring, activity alerts, and peace of mind that your property and belongings are safe. With tools including doorbell cameras and smart locks, people with mobility issues can control the safety features of their homes without struggling to get around.
These features can all be tied together with a smart hub, giving you remote-control access to manage and monitor them via your tablet or smartphone. And they’re affordable, too (they can even be bundled as part of your internet or cable package). Smart gadgets can go a long way to improving the quality of life for seniors, taking assisted living to another level.
Author Bio: Eric Murrell is a software developer and technology contributor to XFINITY Home. He enjoys sharing tips on how people can benefit from incorporating smart home automation and security in their homes on his blog, At Home in the Future.