Smart homes have benefits for anyone. I’ve previously written an article about why you would want a smart home and I go into even more detail in my book, The Smart Home Manual. Smart homes have particular benefits that should be of interest to seniors. Here are eight of them.
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Seniors love seeing family members who can’t always be with them, especially their grandkids! A smart home with a smart display like the Amazon Echo Show 8, Facebook Portal, or the Google Nest Hub Max can make video calling a snap, even for the less technically inclined. I have a Google Nest Hub (here’s my review, keep in mind it doesn’t have a camera) and a Google Nest Hub Max and both are also great as photo frames in addition to being smart speakers. The Google Nest Hub Max works with Zoom and Google Duo out of the box.
Smart video doorbells
This one is for convenience and for security. You can converse with whoever is at the door before opening it. You can also set up various notifications (e.g. a light blinking or changing color or a smartwatch vibrating) for when someone is at your door. This is especially helpful for those hard of hearing. The Ring Video Doorbell, Nest Hello, and the Arlo Essential Video Doorbell are popular options. Keep in mind that these video doorbells require paid subscriptions to get their full functionality, and you might need a professional to install one. If you are looking for doorbells that don’t need cloud subscriptions, check out my article on local control smart home devices.
It doesn’t really matter whether or not Siri, Google Assistant, or Alexa is your cup of tea. All provide a ton of convenience and information at the sound of their names. Being able to control your TV, your lights, and even your fireplace via voice is of great convenience. Voice control has come a long way and is better than it has ever been. You can kill two birds with one stone by getting a smart display for video calls that’s also a smart speaker!
Enhanced safety and security
We worry about the safety and security of loved seniors in our lives. Smart homes can help out with security systems. Smart homes can automate safety and security features. How about a smart smoke detector that automatically notifies the fire department and loved ones? Or smart locks that automatically lock the doors when a person is in for the night? Or motion lights that automatically turn on in dark spaces? How about water leak sensors? These types of automations can provide personal safety and security.
Medical alerts and health monitoring
Wearables are a part of the modern smart home. A really good smartwatch or smart bracelet can be great for health and medical alerts and even save your life. Many smartwatches today, like the Samsung Galaxy Watch and the Apple Watch have ECG and other health monitoring functions. They also have emergency SOS features that can send your current location information to emergency responders. Some smartwatches (like some versions of the Apple Watch) can even display your Medical ID badge and provide fall protection. Also, these watches are great fitness trackers and motivators for keeping active.
For those who are hard of hearing these wearables also serve as great notification devices. They can vibrate for alarms, texts, phone calls, and even when someone is at your door if you get a smart video doorbell.
While the Apple Watch and the like are great, they aren’t specifically designed for medical monitoring. If that is what you specifically want, there are watches made just for that. Take a look at the Handsfree Health or the GreatCall Lively, which also includes fall detection.
Smart thermostats like the Google Nest Learning Thermostat and the ecobee Lite make keeping your home’s HVAC system comfortable and energy-efficient a snap. They can also save you money, and they learn and adjust to your climate needs over time. You can even control them by voice, so you never need to learn how to program them. We Have some smart thermostat recommendations in our Buyer’s Guide.
Automate common activities around the home
Automate the mundane and difficult out of your life. This can be especially important for people with limited mobility. A robot vacuum can make keeping the floors clean a snap (here’s my review of the inexpensive Deebot N79S). You can automate the opening and closing of cabinets and drawers with motion and voice controls. You can even get smart showerheads and faucets that can be touchless and control the temperature of the water. One thing I’d like to install in my home is smart blinds that can open and close on a schedule, based on the sun, or by voice control.
Don’t forget the simple things like turning out outdoor lights automatically when it’s dark, automatically locking doors at night, and using motion controls to turn lights on and off around the house.
Smart fitness equipment
I mentioned fitness earlier in this article when I wrote about wearables. Smart fitness equipment can also help keep health at the forefront. Using a treadmill like the NordicTrack Commercial 1750 (here’s my review, and I love it) can transport you all over the world as you virtually walk, hike, or run in exotic locations. An onscreen fitness trainer can also coach you through your session.
As I look back at this list, I see that the things that make a smart home great for seniors aren’t that different from the things that make a smart home great for everyone. If you’re looking for inspiration on what to do with your smart home, check out my Ultimate DIY Smart Home Guide, or my book, The Smart Home Manual.
You can also learn more about protecting yourself, your family, and seniors online in my book The Personal Cybersecurity Manual: How Anyone Can Protect Themselves from Fraud, Identity Theft, and Other Cybercrimes.
If creating a smart home on your own seems like too much, check out my article on how to get smart home help.
Also, reach out and let me know some other reasons smart homes can be great for seniors on Twitter or in the comments.