In the modern era, the role of technology is undeniable. Gradually, it has become an indispensable part of human life, simplifying how we live while enhancing our lives for the better.
Technology has been proven to affect all aspects of life — inside and outside the house, from smartphones to tablets to voice assistants and in-home systems. Do seniors in assisted living need smart home systems? It all depends. As the closest thing to magic, it could mean many things for seniors choosing to retire somewhere other than their house.
Let’s explore the advantages of having smart home technologies in assisted living for seniors.
Discover How Smart Home Technology in Assisted Living Can Enhance The Life of Seniors
What Is Smart Home Technology?
Smart home technology is an umbrella term that describes house systems involving wireless gadgets and home appliances. In other words, it is a home equipped with “smarter” versions of common household appliances like lightbulbs, thermostats, doorbells, washing machines, dryers, and so on.
Once in sync through a Wi-Fi connection, they create an enclosed smart ecosystem in the home, wherein homeowners can automate and keep track of every aspect of their home life with a single handy device like a smartphone or a central hub using voice control, such as Alexa, Google Nest, Apple Homekit, or Amazon Echo.
Smart home technology is so versatile that it allows homeowners to customize the devices following their needs, wants, and schedules, alongside real-time updates regarding the modifications.
A few examples of smart home devices include TVs, security systems (video doorbells, door locks), lighting systems, heating and air conditioning systems (thermostats, AC), automated blinds and curtains, smoke detectors, automatic pet feeders, and other gadgets activated via the internet.
Smart Home Technology in Assisted Living: What To Expect
In recent years, smart home technologies have made life easier for the younger generation and helped seniors overcome age-related challenges. While most seniors prefer to age in place for as long as possible, others are moving to senior living communities for many reasons. One is the extra comfort provided by smart home systems integrated into the living space.
Smart home technology has become so mainstream that more senior living communities are making significant modifications to accommodate and assist their residents better as they age. It also aims to help staff monitor the activity of seniors more proactively, especially during times of staff shortage. Overall, smart home technology in assisted living is expected to revolutionize the senior living industry, changing the lives of many seniors. It makes their retirement life more accessible, enjoyable, and convenient, knowing they always have something to count on alongside on-site staff.
Smart Home Technology in Assisted Living: What Are The Advantages?
Many senior living communities put smart home technology on a high pedestal because it provides their residents with extra safety. Let’s discuss security systems like door locks. With automatic door locks, seniors can worry less about losing their keys or rummaging through their bags and pockets. They only need to enter a passcode, scan their fingerprint, or tap on the smartphone screen to unlock the door.
Surveillance camera systems are another smart home feature favored among seniors and senior living communities, and probably the children of seniors. Such a smart home solution offers relief for the children as they can check in on their parents anytime from anywhere with their smartphones.
Vision changes may prevent seniors from navigating their steps, leaving them more vulnerable to falls. Sensor systems in assisted living units are an innovative tool to accommodate seniors better. Motion detectors help senior living communities keep tabs on their seniors because such systems inform the staff about their movements and activities, such as getting in and out of bed. This implementation also triggers other smart devices to call for help in emergencies.
Of course, better light minimizes their fall risks and guarantees the common areas are always bright enough. At the same time, motion-sensing lights help seniors move around safely and freely, as they don’t have to stumble around in the dark looking for the switch.
Another reason behind the increasing use of smart home technology in assisted living is extra comfort. Back in the day, seniors may have understood too well the hassle of going back and forth to switch the lights or draw the curtains/blinds. With a smart lighting system, they can now enjoy having the lights in common areas turning on every morning around 5-6 AM and turn off at 9-10 PM by automating the system following their schedules.
The purpose of smart home technology in assisted living is to ease the lives of seniors. As seniors age, household tasks become less manageable for them due to various reasons, such as mobility issues and a lack of a helping hand. Smart gadgets could be a lifesaver in these circumstances. For instance, easy-to-use robot vacuum cleaners keep the house tidy and clean in no time, making them the best choice for seniors in assisted living in addition to the housekeeping services provided. Plus, the best part is they never complain and get tired of cleaning! Seniors can have more free time and feel more comfortable doing whatever their hearts desire without worrying about keeping up with mundane chores.
Saving energy is another surprising benefit of installing smart gadgets in assisted living. Contrary to the common belief that having many devices in the household may consume more energy, the truth is far from it. Using a smart lighting system is actually a smart way to cut down on energy while giving seniors a helping hand to tackle their daily tasks (e.g., switching the lights). By responding to movement, motion-activated lights can turn on/off the lights after detecting when someone is in the room. As a way of green living, this helps prevent unnecessary or wasted energy use and reduce carbon footprint, lowering seniors’ bills in the long run.
Maintain Health & Wellness
Smart home technology is a valuable tool for senior living communities to rely on when monitoring residents’ wellness and well-being. Since most seniors are taking one or more medications, management software can assist the staff greatly in setting reminders for medications and annual checkups from afar. Seniors can also use in-build reminders on their smartphones or voice-command assistants to remind them to take medications, particularly when they have cognitive decline. Sometimes, a little reminder can make a big difference because continuous check-ins can delay the progression of conditions and reduce the need for long-term care.
Getting adequate sleep is crucial for overall well-being. However, seniors are more likely to experience sleep disturbances or insomnia due to stress, medications, and health changes. While making lifestyle changes and taking medications can help with poor sleep quality, smart home technology is emerging as a viable alternative to getting better nights’ sleep for seniors in assisted living. Such a system can designate a much more welcoming environment for sleep. At the same time, it helps seniors create a sleep routine and optimizes their sleep time following observed sleep patterns. From dimming the lights and setting the right temperature to turning on the humidifier and playing white noise — all automatically, seniors can dive right into their bed and wake up the next morning feeling refreshed and more rested.
More Entertainment & Socialization
Seniors now have more access to entertainment thanks to modern technology that keeps them safe and comfortable. These days, smart home entertainment systems have become so popular that most people don’t feel like leaving their homes anymore, with streaming services (Netflix and Hulu) carrying countless movies, dramas, and cartoons. With in-built entertainment systems, seniors can enjoy a world of limitless entertainment available in the comfort of their living units by tapping on the screen or blatantly asking voice-controlled assistants to pick a worth-watching movie or play their favorite playlists.
Seniors experiencing prolonged isolation and loneliness are at higher risks of depression, dementia, premature death, and anxiety. However, advanced in-home technology may be an effective ally in seniors’ battles against social isolation. Although senior living communities design a range of recreational activities for seniors to unwind, they can rely on modern technology to stay connected with their friends and extended family whenever possible with video calls.
Enjoying A Smart Living Environment at 12 Oaks Communities
Smart home technology can benefit seniors’ aging journey in the long run. It allows residents to experience top comfort and security, bolster their relationships with friends and family remotely, and maintain their health and wellness with automatic systems in the house.
At 12 Oaks Communities, we pride ourselves on integrating various tools and technologies to improve the lives of our residents. With smart home technology, our residents can worry less (or not at all) about their safety and have more enjoyable moments offered by smart home entertainment right at their fingertips instead.
If you have questions about smart home technology in assisted living or any topics discussed here, connect with us and learn more.
At 12 Oaks, our team of caring professionals is dedicated to keeping residents safe, engaged, and connected to their families and friends while leading fulfilling lives. 12 Oaks Senior Living Communities are an ideal place to enjoy the encore season of life.
For questions or to schedule a personalized tour, don’t hesitate to contact us.
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