Electronic gadgets must-haves, smart home edition for Aging in Place, and convenience.
Is a loved one Aging? Are you disabled? Or maybe you are just looking to upgrade the usability and visitability of a home?
Smart home technology is here and it's only getting better. More and more people are looking to explore its possibilities to make their lives easier. It makes a perfect gift for the holidays.
As a Home Accessibility and Home Safety Consultant, I help many individuals maximize the functionality of their homes, often to increase the ability of family/friends to visit, allow individuals to stay in their homes, or create peace of mind for loved ones.
Below are four of the highest-rated items I’ve recommended to clients over the past year that have gotten the best, and most consistent raving feedback.
Amazon Alexa/echo, paired with smart plugs, has revolutionized the way people live in their homes. With the ability to create a lighting schedule, and put the most used devices in the room to voice command, it’s like a sci-fi movie where our home can be at our beck and call.
Having electronics paired with voice commands or automatic lighting schedules reduces the need to navigate around obstacles. It allows one to avoid the process of turning on each individual light in the room because the electricity is a little dated. This can reduce falls, and create convenience, and it's the next level Clap-on, Clap off.
There is even a growing number of professionals who specialize in optimizing smart home technology, setting up the entire system for you!
Motion sensory lighting/LED night lights
I love this light bulb because it takes a normal overhead light and turns it into a motion-sensor light. This could be perfect for hallways, walkways, and rooms that don't get as much use as other areas of the house. It is easy and affordable!
From an accessibility standpoint, it doesn’t require pesky batteries to change, challenging you to remember to change them avoiding the cost of buying batteries, and reducing the need for coordination, to open the battery compartment and change them
Additionally, it can reduce falls, and save electricity by providing light the second you enter a room, and it turns off after you leave.
If you don’t mind batteries or want to light small spaces such as, under cabinets, on stairs, or in those hard-to-see closets/deep drawers, these are perfect!
These battery-operated motion sensor lights have gotten good reviews from clients. While their battery compartment is a bit of a hassle originally, the batteries last a decent time. So for smaller spaces, these could be a good fit!
Doorbell with visuals and auditory assist
As we get older, It can be harder to hear. This can mean family members or service providers are left outside, wondering if the door will ever be opened. And it can also be frustrating for the household when important packages are missed, or service providers leave, all because we didn't know they were there!
There are a few options when it comes to Doorbells with visuals. Sometimes, simple is the easiest.
This doorbell includes an option for lights, sounds, or lights and sounds, giving you the freedom to maximize its impact. You can transport this with you, by taking it from room to room if needed.
Added Bonus: This is great if you are someone who works from home and needs to know when someone is where without interrupting a meeting. OR, you have a pet and the doorbell ringing really sets off the whole house.
Some people have multiple doorways or rooms for which they want a stationary reminder.
For this, I like something like Door Bell Chimes with multiple receivers and waterproof push buttons.
Roomba with self-emptying
Last, but most decidedly NOT LAST is the iRobot with self-emptying.
WOW, this guy is POWERFUL. Its smart mapping takes a few uses to optimize, but this little machine is determined to do it right. It can navigate some threshold changes, and for the ones it can’t, it will try it's so so hard to do so.
The self-emptying feature means that you can run the vacuum several times before you need to empty the main bag. This is HUGE for convenience, but also safety.
Less bending, and reaching, means less opportunity to fall, trip or stumble.
It has a technology interface that lets you see on a screen what it “sees” on the floor plan. You can help it learn new routines, and it can take away the stress of maintaining the light sweeping/vacuuming required to live at home. For those receiving the gift who hate technology, part of the gift can be the buyer's offer to manage the device from their own phone. This means your loved ones get all the benefits and none of the hassle.
*It's easy to set up, but warning: the self-emptying, vacuum feature is a little loud and can be alarming the first time you hear it*