Using technology to help injured or the elderly person you love

This is a blog that hits pretty close to home for me. I live in Tahoe and my parents in their mid-70’s both live in the Bay Area. My mother is confined to a wheelchair and my father has heart, knee, and high blood pressure issues. I worry about them. I have tried to lobby them to sell the house and move closer to me so if there is an emergency it won’t been a three-and-a-half-hour drive to them. I was told the only way they were leaving their house will be in a pine box. (Apparently their sense of humor is still fully intact.) I have begun to look into ways of helping them.
I ran across an article on the Control4 blog that discussed intelligent devices that can offer the elderly or infirmed the promise of security and freedom and I wanted to share some of the gadgets that the article suggests. It asserts advances in home automation products make it easier and safer in our home when we automate our lifestyles.

Monitoring Devices and Security Systems
Most Wifi-integrated monitoring was designed with the elderly in mind. With a smart home you can integrate cameras or motion sensors so that caretakers or family members are quickly alerted if a leak happens, door is left on, or even stove left on if you have a smart stove. You can even track movement in the home. I know this may sound extreme but if you have an elderly person who lives alone in the house, wouldn’t you like to be alerted if there has been zero movement detected during the daytime hours. This could indicate that someone is sick or passed.
Voice Controlled Lighting
After a certain age falls can be devastating. If my mother falls, she is unable to get up without assistance. 90% of hip fractures are a result of a fall. I wish there was some tech product I could recommend that would prevent falls, but frankly they don’t exist yet. But I do know that when you can see well, you are less likely to fall. According to the American Foundation for the Blind, seniors require three to four times brighter light to preform tasks like reading, writing, and sewing or other sight focused activities. A smart lighting system can allow the lighting to be tailored to the senior’s sight, create scenes for home or away and can be integrated to a voice control device like Amazon’s Alexa or Google Home. They can simply ask for the room to be lit or to increase the light.
Programming “IF THIS, THAN THAT”
I do not actively participate in programming. Well, I do in the way I ask my husband to change something to make my life easier. Jeremy, my husband; does often program something called “IF THIS, THAN THAT,” programming. This type of programming ties together multiple devices onto one system and tells it that if something happens how it should respond. For example, you can have the house alert you if the door is left open or unlocked from 11:00pm. We have a front door that locks itself at 9:00pm. But if the door is left unlocked after 9pm to 4:00am, the door relocks itself. That way if a neighbor locks themselves out and knocks on our door, we don’t have to worry about if we remembered to relock it. You can have the house respond to the weather conditions out sides by heating up or cooling down based on the temperature. Our house at 8pm drops it’s temperature and then heats back up at 5:00am so it is comfortable when we get up in the morning. Security lighting can be activated at sunset or during specific times. Lights can blink when doorbells are rung for those who don’t have the best eye sight or a video intercom can show who is at the door.
Lastly, and not mentioned by the article you can have one of those “Help I’ve Fallen, and I can’t get up” pendants or buttons to call out of the home and notify family.

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