Imagine a day when bending over to turn things off, reaching for switches and stumbling in the dark will be a thing of the past. The homes of the future will make your elderly loved ones safer and more comfortable as they age in place.
Smart homes have technologies and gadgets to help residents control their environment from a single device, making aging in place easier than ever.
Lighting the way forward
As seniors age, their eyes need more light. No one should navigate a crowded room in the dark to find a light switch. It is way too easy to trip and fall over something you can't see.
New smart home systems take the fumbling out of finding the light switch. You can control the lighting directly from your mobile phone. This means you can have your house turn its lights on before you get home, and you never need to get up to adjust the lights. Even better for seniors, smart systems can learn your schedule so that your lights are always on when you need them, and off when you don't. No more stumbling around dark rooms!
Securing your home
New security systems are much more than just an alarm bell. Now you can lock down your whole house remotely so that it's always secure. Cameras at your front door mean you can see who's ringing your bell or if your grandchildren have gotten home safely. Need to let someone in your home when you aren't there? Don't leave the key outside where anyone can use it. Give them permissions and your house will open just for them. It's like having your own personal doorman!
Keeping the perfect temperature
No one wants to come home to a house that's freezing or burning up. And leaving the air conditioning running all day is a waste of energy. That's not a problem anymore! With a swipe of your smartphone you can turn adjust the temperature on your HVAC unit. Wish your house would take care of even that for you? Products like the Nest thermostat let you program automatic adjustments so your house is always the perfect temperature.
Don't have an HVAC system? A smart fan will do the trick. These fans monitor your room's temperature and humidity and learn your preferences. They turn off when you're away to save energy but snap to attention when you enter the room. Now that's service!
Blocking the sun's rays
Windows let in energizing sunshine, but it's a pain to open and close the blinds. So often those cords are hidden behind furniture and hard to reach, which is just asking for trouble. Skip the pain with automatic window shades. Raise and lower your blinds automatically or with the touch of a button.
Do you hate that your blinds block your view of the birds outside your window? Dynamic glass windows have adjustable tint settings, like transition sunglasses—no window coverings needed! You can change the tint with your smartphone or your can simply let them adjust to the outside world. They keep out blinding sun rays, keep your home cool and reduce your energy usage. And they don't block your wonderful view.
Doing the chores
Don't you hate it when you forgot to start the dishwasher or washing machine before you left the house? With the ability to control your appliances remotely, you will never forget a load. Washers and dryers, dishwashers and refrigerators can all communicate with your smartphone. You can control them, and they can communicate with you. They can tell you the energy they’re consuming, if the power's out and nudge you when your loads of dishes and clothes are done. You'll never find a musty, forgotten load of laundry again!
Enjoying the drive
You spent ages adjusting the seat in your car to perfectly support your back, only for it to be changed by the next person who drives your car. If only you had a butler who would start your car, warm it up, adjust your seat, and play your favorite music for you... You need a car that remembers your customized settings!
With these intelligent cars, each driver has their own set of keys. When you unlock the car, it knows that it's you and adjusts everything to fit you perfectly. With remote starting features, your car will be warm and ready to go by the time you walk outside. No adjustments necessary.
Haven't we all wished we had a universal button to control everything in our homes? The future is here, and our smartphones are the remote of our dreams. Granted, it may be too late to teach your beloved grandma how to use a smartphone, but the next generation of aging seniors will already be incredibly tech-savvy. This new technology will make aging in place a breeze—and a whole lot of fun, too.
Shayne Fitz-Coy is the Co-CEO and President of Alert-1, an aging-in-place technology company headquartered in Williamsport, Pennsylvania with offices nationwide. Shayne is an NAHB Certified Aging in Place Specialist with a Bachelor's degree in Psychology from Harvard College and a Masters in Business Administration from the Stanford Graduate School of Business. He hails from Maryland, and now calls the Bay Area home