Home Safe Home:
How Technology is Helping People Age at Home
The first step for a plan to age at home is to learn more about the services available to you through Visiting Nurse Association of Northern New Jersey (VNA). Then consider how these technologies can help as well.
- Smart pillboxes may also be called medication dispensers or automated medication management tools. These have come a long way from the pill organizers of old, with their tiny compartments for the time of day and the day of the week. Automatic dispensing, multi-week capacity, even the ability to alert caregivers, are just some of the features found in today’s smart pillboxes.
- Motion-activated lights, also called motion-sensing lights,can be instrumental in preventing falls. Seniors don’t always remember to turn lights on or feel it isn’t necessary. There are many types and styles of motion-sensing lamps, fixtures, and bulbs available online or at your local home supply store.
- A smart doorbell is a simple installation that offers remote audio/visual convenience for safety and can provide remote access for caregivers.
- Smart security systems with remote cameras allow seniors to remain independent while ensuring that caregivers can check in at any time and emergency aid is available when needed.
- Smart fire and smoke alarms can differentiate the type of hazard and how to respond. Some detectors can sense smoke before it becomes visible, such as from a smoldering cigarette ember or electrical short circuit. Beyond the standard siren alarm, notifications can be sent to designated phones and in many cases, integrated with other home security systems.
- Induction cooktops operate without open flames or electric heating elements and so are inherently safer. Used with stainless steel or cast-iron cookware, these cooktops don’t get hot like a conventional stovetop and shut off when the pot or pan is removed.
- Water detection devices provide alerts for fixture leaks or overflow from a sink or bathtub. Most provide an audible alarm although some products can provide notification to caregivers via smartphone apps or security system integration.
- Keyless locks, which require using a keypad to enter a code, can be invaluable for individuals who misplace keys or who have difficulty with handling and turning small keys. Along with lever-style door hardware, this can be invaluable for seniors with reduced dexterity.
- Voice-activated devices, like Portal from Facebook, can be a great asset for communication with family and friends. Voice-activation provides the ease to start or receive a phone or video call. Once set up, simply saying, “call my son,” can start the call. For many seniors, this removes the fear of newer technologies which is often a stumbling block.