April Monthly Bulletin
Aging in Place (With the Help of a Smart Home)
As we grow older, the need for a support system becomes greater, including assistance from family members, caregivers, or even a residence that is designed to accommodate seniors. We’re more prone to reduced vision, less mobility, risk of falls, and more. Wouldn’t it be nice if we could safely and comfortably stay in our homes just awhile longer? Some basic smart home devices can do a lot to make that happen.
Smart home devices such as cameras, video doorbells, smoke alarms, and voice-activated speakers can easily make our everyday life safer, more convenient, and help us continue to be social. But before you run out and buy these smart home devices, become informed…and have a plan.
The Plan – Identify the areas where smart home devices could make your life easier. Maybe discuss this with a family member, or even a friend.
Arrange Tech Support – In addition to providing the installation, ensure someone is available to troubleshoot any problems and keep the software updated.
Organize Controls – It’s best to use one app, and the Google Home app is the best and easiest to use. It works equally well on either Android phones or iPhones.
Emergency Contacts – Some smart home devices can be configured to automatically text or call a relative, friend or any third party, as well as 911.
Smart home devices have reached such a level of sophistication, they can not only provide assurance to a distant loved one that you are in a safer environment but let them communicate with you. If desired, cameras that monitor your home can also provide 2-way communications with your family members and should you fall, and your voice can even trigger an alert on their phone. Some devices you should consider are:
– Home security cameras for communication or for monitoring who is coming and going.
– Video doorbells that let you answer your front door from the comfort of your smartphone, wherever you are in your home.
– Smart lighting for dark hallways and entryways, automatically lighting up as you enter the area when it’s dark.
– Smart plugs with timers that can ensure devices like coffee makers and fans are automatically turned on and off at appropriate times of day.
Most smart devices are simple to set up with a smartphone. They can send notifications when activated, and in many cases, they provide remote-access control. A well-planned system can allow you to be monitored and assisted by a loved one, in emergencies or just day to day, depending on your situation.
The decision to use this technology obviously involves security and privacy concerns. But experts for the aging note that the decision should take into consideration that safety is of the highest importance, and if a person has to be home alone, a way to monitor them is a reasonable solution.
The TVCUC is considering the formulation of a Smart Home Special Interest Group (SIG). This group would be led by an expert in smart home technology and presentations/discussions would focus on choosing, installing and using smart home devices and could also include cord-cutting topics. This group would be an inclusive service to TVCUC members and if you are interested in learning more about smart home technology, please send us an email.
Other Club News
In other news, TAP continues to be active in refurbishing and providing computer systems to needy children in the surrounding local areas. We still need your help for this, so if a new computer is in your future, please consider donating your old computer (and printer) to TAP. As of the end of March, we have refurbished and donated 9,365 computer systems to help 13,819 deserving children and family members. What an amazing accomplishment…KUDOS to TAP!
The TVCUC is always looking for volunteers. If you would like to give back in the form of helping with our club’s educational efforts, or even serving on our board of directors (a board position is currently open), please let us know by sending an email.
Larry McJunkin, President