Intelligent living can give time, freedom and peace of mind. For almost all of us, these are desirable qualities for any home or workplace but for the elderly or disabled, these features could be crucial and even lifesaving.
With more people than ever before living to age 80 and above, recent years have seen an increased demand for ways in which we can allow our family members to live independently in their own homes for longer. Home automation offers the ability to remotely monitor and if necessary, control elements of a living space in a way which is effective and unobtrusive. It can be designed to meet the requirements of those with visual or hearing impairment. It can allow safe access for carers or family members or alert the homeowner if the property is not properly secured or devices have been left on.
Let’s take some of the different elements of a basic smart home and see how they can be tailored to meet the requirements of assisted living.
Motion and threat detection
In a smart home, lighting and heating are commonly triggered by motion or presence sensors. Walk in a room, heating and lighting come on or go off when unoccupied for a period. On a very basic level, removing the need to physically touch a light switch or thermostat, can be of huge benefit to those with limited mobility. For assisted living scenarios these same sensors can also be used to trigger an alert, for example, if no motion was sensed in the house or certain rooms by a set time in the morning or long periods of time during the day. A pressure sensor in the floor next to the bed could be used to notify family or carers of a break in normal routine and water sensors can be used to alert the user of overflowing baths or sinks. They can also be used as part of a smart home security system for intruder detection.
So from this, one of the core elements of home automation, we immediately gain three irreplaceable benefits for assisted living. The latest presence sensors are discreet and unobtrusive, so unlike internal CCTV or alarm cords they do not affect the aesthetics of a home, and most importantly, the users privacy.
Visual and Audible Alerts
For those with visual or hearing impairment, intelligent lighting or multi-room audio can be tailored to act as a way of alerting the homeowner of a visitor, call or threat.
For example, for those with hearing impairment, smart lighting can be set to flash throughout the house or in specific rooms should the doorbell or phone ring, or to warn of unwanted intruders or fire.
For those visually impaired, multi-room audio can be a way of alerting the homeowner to a visitor or to alert them to a threat such as fire, flood or intruders, wherever they are in the property. These same alerts can also be sent to the smart phone of a family member or carer.
Both these elements can also be used to alert a homeowner should they fail to properly secure the property by leaving a door or window unlocked when they leave or go to bed, or to notify that a device or appliance has been left on. The home can also give reminders to take medicine or to complete certain tasks too with either with visual or audible alerts.
In an intelligent home, the homeowner
no longer needs to get up to answer
the door. With an intercom system,
they or their family can see and talk
to visitors via their smartphone or tablet and open the door or gates remotely,
from anywhere in the house or world.
With NFC Touch Panel and smart locks, codes can be granted to allow visitors between certain hours of the day,
such as for carers or cleaners.
Family members can have
their own unique codes or key fob
to allow them access in emergencies.
In an intelligent home, switches can be used to change lighting scenes and control music volume and shading. These same switches can be used to turn off all elements of the home and set the alarm system with the triple-tap function, when leaving or going to bed. This gives the homeowner the peace of mind that all devices are safely off. Switches throughout the home or in specific locations such as by the bed could be used as panic buttons to alert family members or carers of a problem.
It is also possible to integrate elements such as stair and bath lifts, hydrotherapy pools and saunas into the intelligent system allowing them to be controlled and monitored remotely.
If you would like more information or advice about how potes could help provide a safe, secure intelligent living environment for yourself or family members, we’d love to chat to you.
Follow this link to discover more about how assisted living can benefit from intelligent homes.