CBS picks 10 smart home products to help you age in place

Smart Home products that help you Age In Place

In this referenced article, CBS picks 10 smart home products to help you Age In Place. They represent the various types of product categories available, from voice activated home control to smart doorbells, thermostats, and medication reminders. They even include a smart refrigerator from Samsung that starts at about $3,500, but you can make your existing fridge smart for less than $40.

“Aging in place” is a hot topic these days — particularly among baby boomers who want to maintain their independence.

While flocking to smaller homes in warmer climates is still attractive for some seniors easing into their later years, more and more people are choosing to stay where they are. In fact, 85 percent of homeowners 55 and older aren’t planning to sell their homes in the next year, according to a 2017 survey from Realtor.com.

“Aging in place really is a concept based on where you’re living and your preference to staying, whatever you home of choice is,” said Laurie Orlov, tech industry veteran, eldercare advocate and founder of Aging in Place Technology Watch.

Not every home is set up to ease the transition into adults’ older years, when mobility can become a major issue. Declining hearing, sight and mental awareness can also affect how easy or safe it is to continue living independently in a person’s home of choice. But smart home technology brings a whole host of solutions to the table.

Scroll through the smart home products that CBS featured at https://www.cbsnews.com/media/10-smart-home-features-to-help-you-age-in-place/.

Home Automation Shows Promise for Seniors, but HomeKit Isn’t the Answer – Yet

By Beth Kelly

Home automation has been a mixed blessing for senior citizens and those who provide their care. Individual assistive technologies and comprehensive smart home “ecosystems” are becoming increasingly sophisticated, and they’re more capable than ever of understanding older user’s needs and capabilities.

The development of comprehensive home technology platforms – such as Apple’s HomeKit and Google’s Home – has accelerated hopes that technology’s role in senior care will continue to make rapidly meaningful strides, via the ever-widening Internet of Things (IoT).

Smart Home applications of IoT

Integrating Disparate Subsystems

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How Technology is Changing Home Security

By Janet Miller, Yoga Instructor, Nutritionist, and Work at Home Mom

EDITOR: Janet wrote the following article for Huffington Post (see original), presented here with my additional insights and recommendations. 

Surveillance Cameras are Changing Home Security

7 Ways Technology is Changing Home Security

Technology has radically changed the way we protect our homes. What was previously only possible in Sci-Fi movies is now gradually becoming reality. The digital revolution has made its way into our homes.

1. Remote Monitoring: Remote monitoring is a great way to keep an eye on the home when you are at school or work, or on your second home. Even if you are vacationing on a beach miles away, you can still receive real time videos and photos of what is going on at home. Some of the features monitoring systems now provide include the ability to arm and disarm security systems, send fire or intrusion alerts, and stream security camera feeds. Read More …

Be Secure Again with Home Security and Automation

Home Security Compromised

Secure Again — Elliot Caleira’s Story

I thought I heard something moving outside. Grover, my dog, makes noises out there often because he loves hunting squirrels and running through bushes. But this sound was more subtle and disturbing. I called out to Grover, and he came running, but the noise continued.

At the time, I didn’t have a security system and had no way to know if my door was locked without walking to the door. The noise scared me so much that I called 9-1-1 as I walked, and when I got to the door, I dropped the phone. Standing outside was a tall man with a black hat and baggy t-shirt with what looked like a weapon poking out of his pants pocket. I was terrified and felt I couldn’t breathe, yet alone move. Read More …

Caretakers harness the Internet of Things

What Caretakers Can Do RIGHT NOW to Harness the Power of the Internet of Things

By Beth Kelly

SThe Internet of Thingsocial technology and home automation have moved upstream. According to the Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project, nearly one-third of seniors own a tablet or e-book reader. Almost 50 percent of seniors own high-speed Internet access and browse the Web at least 3-5 times per week.

These typing, Skyping, texting seniors are the next beneficiaries of the Internet of things (IoT), the growing network of WiFi-enabled appliances, wearable sensors, automated security systems and other connected devices. For instance, researchers at UCLA are investigating how to use WearSens, a piezoelectric necklace, to remotely monitor breathing patterns of recovering surgery patients. BrainAid offers the PEAT smartphone app to help seniors with memory loss live independently with scheduling assistance.

The revolution is now. Here’s how to get involved. Read More …

Top Home Tech for Seniors [INFOGRAPHIC]

Home Tech for Seniors and Caregivers infographic courtesy of Home Access Products.

With innovations in health care, medicine, and nutrition, it’s no surprise that Americans are getting older. By 2030, nearly 20% of Americans will be over 65– and nearly 90% of them want to stay in their own homes as they age.

As aging in place continues to rise, seniors are increasingly looking towards technology to stay safe and connected. From personal alert systems to cell phones and tablets, seniors are embracing technology and all of its benefits. Whether aging seniors are tech-savvy, or prefer simple ways of communicating at home, these products and services can assist seniors with safety, entertainment, health/wellness, communication, and assistance. Read More …

Home Automation and Home Health Care

In the movie, 2001: A Space Odyssey, HAL (Heuristically programmed ALgorithmic computer) kept a watchful eye on the crew.How Home Automation Can Change the Home Health Care Industry

By Spencer Blohm

In-home care is one of the biggest growth industries of the last twenty years. It makes sense; elderly folks don’t want to be chained down to a nursing home, and an in-home care aid gives them independence without sacrificing their health needs. However, in-home care aides and family members can’t always be with grandma and grandpa. That’s why home automation systems make sense for protecting the dignity of your loved one, while giving you, the caretaker, some room to run out and perform necessary chores. Here are some features to consider. Read More …

Helping the Elderly Avoid Identity Theft

Identity TheftIdentity theft can strike anyone at any time, but identity thieves often target the elderly. This is especially frustrating, as these victims are often on a fixed income with a strict budget. The effects are troubling and sometimes, devastating, to everyone involved.

Here’s help to avoid identity theft and ensure our seniors get to keep the money they worked so hard for:

Common Identity Theft Scams

The elderly tend to be less tech-savvy, and helping them avoid this type of fraud means educating them on the most common scams out there. Some tactics thieves use include:  Read More …

Tech Tools That Enable Elderly to Age at Home

Senior Woman Reading BookBy Christopher Wise

Nine out of 10 aging Americans want to stay in their homes as they age, an AARP survey discovered. Furthermore, people who reach age 65 have an average life expectancy of an additional 19 years, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Fortunately, advances in technology are available to help these aging Americans remain in their homes for a longer period of time. Let’s take a look at the top tools helping Americans to remain at home while they age:

Remote Pacemaker Monitoring Device

Individuals with pacemakers usually visit their doctors several times each year to have it checked. Some of these individuals can now send data remotely using a standard phone line and a device called a Carelink Home Monitor. Read More …

Parenting Your Parents on Phishing and Identity Theft

HackingBy Thomas Richardson

Editor: I’ll add some of my own advice in teal.

ID theft is up. An estimated 13.1 million Americans were victims of identity theft-related fraud in 2013, according to CNBC. That’s up more than 500,000 people from 2012. Predators in nature, identity thieves like to target the aged and weak, singling them out as easy-to-ambush prey. And, according to the FBI, the elderly do tend to have certain attributes that make them especially choice targets for con artists. For example, senior citizens are usually more trusting than younger generations and fall easier for identity theft scams, such as phishing. Many seniors also have a substantial nest egg saved up, making them even more attractive as potential victims.

If you have elderly relatives, educate them about the many types of identity theft scams, especially phishing. Otherwise, they could become victims of identity theft and even potentially lose their entire life savings to these crooks. Read More …

Don’t Be a Victim: Protect Yourself From Home Invasion

Home SecurityBy Amanda Benjamin

The thought of being the victim of a home invasion is upsetting, to say the least. While a crook breaks into your home when it’s empty, a home invader enters when you’re still there. A home invasion is far more traumatic than a burglary, and it can happen to any home in any neighborhood whenever.

However, there are a number of ways to protect yourself from a home invasion, both before it happens and if you find yourself the victim of being one. Here are some of the ways you can personally protect yourself:

Financial Precautions

  • Avoid ostentatious displays of luxury possessions like expensive cars, electronics, furs, jewelry, art or designer clothing.
  • Keep any cash, gold, silver and expensive jewelry in a deposit box at a bank — or very well hidden, in the home.
  • Consider installing a floor safe somewhere in your home.  Read More …

Will Healthcare Lead The Future of Smart Homes?

As a technologist, futurist, mHealth advocate, and past Home Systems consultant, I’m a fan of embedded technologies that make products smarter and easier to use, especially those that improve healthcare, but I side with “Smart Home” skeptics and add my own comments after this press release. – Wayne Caswell, mHealthTalk editor

The Future of Smart Systems

By 2020, experts think tech-enhanced homes, appliances, and utilities will spread, but many of the analysts believe we still won’t likely be living in the long-envisioned ‘Homes of the Future’

Imaging the Internet, a market research reportJune 29, 2012 — Hundreds of tech analysts foresee a future with “smart” devices and environments that make people’s lives more efficient.

But they also note that current evidence about the uptake of smart systems is that the costs and necessary infrastructure changes to make it all work are daunting. And they add that people find comfort in the familiar, simple, “dumb” systems to which they are accustomed.

Some 1,021 Internet experts, researchers, observers, and critics were asked about the “home of the future” in an online, opt-in survey. The result was a fairly even split between those who agreed that energy- and money-saving “smart systems” will be significantly closer to reality in people’s homes by 2020 and those who said such homes will still remain a marketing mirage. Read More …

Caregivers and the “Smart” Homes of Tomorrow

This article features comments I posted on a James Holloway article about Smart Homes of Tomorrow, where automation is based on sensors and learned intelligence that encompasses any device providing automatic control of home functions. Systems most likely to be automated are: lights, thermostats & home appliances; television, video & music systems; security alarms &  monitoring systems; and home health care monitors, alarms & communication devices.

A conceptual smart home with 17 components, including automated pet feeder.

mHealthTalk Comment:

My perspectives aren’t too far from what Mr. Holloway wrote about. They came from introducing IBM to the Smart Home market in 1994, helping it launch IBM Home Director, and retiring in 1999 to start CAZITech, a Digital Home consulting firm.

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Wireless remote control of door locks

HAI control of Kwikset Zigbee door locksIt’s time for bed, but did you lock the door? You can see who’s at the front door on your smartphone with a video intercom, but can you unlock the door to let them in without getting out of bed, out of the comfy chair, or off of the sofa? Those two of many other scenarios where remote access to an electronic door lock would be convenient.

The cost and simplicity of installing remote door locks is coming down, but this project is still more expensive and costly than simple lighting controls. Still I post this article with a video and press release of HAI control of Kwikset ZigBee wireless door locks. Read More …

Keyless Door Locks

Keyless Door LocksTo unlock the door of my wife’s 9-year-old Lexus, I can insert and turn the key OR just press a button on the wireless key fob, but I still need to get the key out of my pocket. I don’t even need to take the key out to unlock or start my newer Infinity because it uses near field communication. I just push a button on the door to get in and turn the ignition to start.

Wouldn’t it be nice to enter the home the same way? As shown in the photo, I still use a key, but many keyless door locks are available. Each has advantages for certain situations, so which option would you prefer? Here are some ideas, but we’d like to hear from you, so leave a reply below.

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ActiveCare combines Technology and Remote Monitoring

INSTEON Wireless Motion and Occupancy SensorMore and more companies are getting into the Home Healthcare market with products and services. Some, like Intel-GE Care Innovations, are large. Others, like ActiveCare, are small. And some will succeed while others, like Google will fail or leave the market.

I noticed in the press release below that ActiveCare is using the same ActiveHome software and X10-based sensors that I’ve used in my own automated home(s) for years as a Digital Home consultant. X10 is a mature networking protocol that communicates over radio signals or 110V power lines. It’s not the latest technology, but it’s cheap and works, usually.

With Launch of New ActiveHome Monitoring System, ActiveCare Opens Its CareCenter and Showroom to the Public

SALT LAKE CITY, June 27, 2011 — /PRNewswire/ — ActiveCare, Inc. (ACAR.OB) a leader in senior care technology, today announced the opening of its CareCenter and showroom to the public. Moving into its new state-of-the-art home earlier this year, the CareCenter operates 24/7/365 monitoring the health and well being of its members. Read More …

When will the Digital Smart Home market take off?

Market Research: Mass-market Households versus High-end New HomesDigital Smart Homes, including some of the same sensor and networking technologies that we promote for home health care, have long been associated with large and expensive new homes with custom installation. It’s a market that has languished as a niche for over 40 years now and has never managed to find its way to mainstream consumers. Why?

Someone asked that question in a forum I monitor, and I had to add my two cents, which I include here for perspective.

Contrast the Digital Smart Home with a modern car. When you buy a new car, it comes with everything included and already integrated to work together. There are many things you DON’T have to buy separately and install yourself, including tires, air conditioning, radio, CD-player, navigation, antilock brakes, towing package, etc.

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Fire Safety and Seniors: Builders Oppose Sprinklers

Fire sprinkler systems have long been required in commercial buildings, apartments, nursing homes, and assisted living facilities, and the most recent version of the International Building Code (IRC 2009) requires automated file sprinkler systems in new homes too. That’s great news, except home builders have been fighting in State legislatures to prevent adoption of the new rules.

Home builders have opposed new laws requiring fire sprinklers and have promoted misinformation. Some of the facts are:

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Mini Eco-i-Lite: When a Great Product Review Turns Bad

Mini Eco-i-Lite, available at retailers like Amazon.com, Container Store and OfficeDepotBeing a digital home consultant and an advocate for universal design and simplicity, one of my favorite home automation gadgets is the nightlight with photocell. It improves the safety of moving about in a dark room, because it turns on when it’s dark and off when it’s light. Like magic, when you turn on the room’s light(s), the little nightlight turns off; and when you turn off the lights, the nightlight turns on again. That’s why I was happy to find a new version and wanted to write about it.

While visiting OfficeDepot in Houston, I discovered the Mini Eco-i-Lite. It only costs about $10 and combines the functions of a nightlight, power failure light, and flashlight. How cool is that? By addressing the combined benefits of safety, ease of use, and sustainability, it seems ideal for the elderly, so I bought one and planned to write a glowing review about it here. But all is not what it seems.

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