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Tag Archives: Aging in Place
The Integration of home automation and healthcare is life-changing
We’re just beginning to realize the extensive benefits of home automation. For years, we’ve recognized the luxuries, conveniences, comforts and safety aspects of an integrated home, but we’re learning that those attributes are just the tip of the iceberg. Today’s smart home can aid the disabled, monitor the ill and enable our Vancouver residents the opportunity to stay in their homes longer.
It wasn’t so long ago that baby monitors hit the market. We could breathe a sigh relief while carrying the walkie-talkie-like device around from room to room. And then…baby cams were introduced and suddenly we could watch over them day and night. Flash forward and now we can check in on our homes via our smart phones anytime and from anywhere. We appreciate the convenience and peace of mind that brings in terms of home security or even keeping watch of our pets, but imagine the comfort of being able to watch over an elderly parent.
Modern healthcare is finding new, innovative ways to capitalize on our connected homes, allowing people to remain in comfortable, familiar surroundings longer. Automated, simple-to-use devices can remind an elderly person to take their medication or instruct an autistic individual how to prepare a meal. Caregivers can be alerted when an Alzheimer patient opens a door or when a diabetic’s glucose monitor sounds. For an added measure of security, automated lighting can be triggered as well so that, in the event an audible alarm is missed, visual cues will wake the caregiver while lighting the way to their loved one. Visual prompts can also be life-enhancing for the hearing impaired and elderly.
Voice and “Stress” Control
The more recent introduction of integrated voice control has opened up a whole new realm in home healthcare. Individuals that may otherwise be unable to physically or mentally operate a touch panel or control device can now gain control of appliances, entertainment and security devices, affording them independence.
Home automation and, more specifically, voice-controlled devices also have a positive impact on our mental health. Multiple medical studies from various academics from Rutgers, Stanford, and University British Columbia have concluded that individuals who feel a greater sense of environmental control demonstrate increased persistence, motivation, and optimism, and have been shown to have lower risk for psychopathology. That research extends to a homeowner’s ability to be “in control” of their smart home, accessing features that reduce worry and, therefore, stress levels.
The life-saving stories are many and we can each likely envision a scenario where remote monitoring, automated lighting, cameras, door locks and voice control can make ours and our family’s life easier, healthier and more gratifying. Innovative technologies continue to transform our lives. Home automation, once considered purely a luxury, has become a wonderful, life-changing tool and essential part of our daily lives. Healthcare, along with our homes, just gets smarter and smarter.
Health Care in Home Automation Systems with Speech Recognition and Mobile Technology, American Journal of Engineering Research (AJER)
Digital Doctors: Home Automation is Redefining Healthcare, Collective Evolution
5 ways tech is changing retirement, Ameriprise Advisors
Alexa, open the shades. Alexa, play music. Alexa, ask fitbit what my resting heart rate is. Ahhhhh.
How smart is your smarthome? Can it order a pizza? If Alexa were your virtual assistant it could! Now THAT’s a SMARTHOME! Alexa lives in the cloud and is automatically updated. She comes with Echo, a far-field enabled device that activates upon hearing a “wake word”. Echo also happens to be a 360° omni-directional speaker. Ok, it’s not whole-house audiophile quality, but it’s a pretty cool way to stream your favorites through a portable device.
So why do we, a systems integrator, love it? We love simplified solutions and Alexa makes control of your home’s systems even easier. She’s compatible with your Crestron home automation system, with Lutron Shades and more. And while all that is convenient, there’s a key life-safety feature not to be ignored. Imagine the peace of mind of having Alexa for those “aging in place” with limited mobility. Voice-activated technology can restore freedom and grant a measure of security.
Alexa, close the shades. Alexa, what’s my heart rate now?