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/.

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 …

20-20 Vision of Digital Life in 2025

Pew Research Center recently published its vision of Digital Life in 2025, based on predictions from over 1,000 experts who generally said the Internet would become “like electricity” – more deeply embedded in our lives but less visible.

Word Cloud - Pew Research examines Digital Life in 2025

Before I present the top 15 themes from the Pew report, here’s my own Back to the Future vision of technology and and its impact & challenges, based on an article I wrote 11 years ago. It looked back 20 years to George Orwell’s 1984 and then forward 20 to the year 2024, and I present it here because it’s helpful to see a history of where things have come from as you contemplate the future. Futurists, however, will tell you that forecasting is not as simple as just extrapolating trends. 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 …

101 MiniTrends in Health Care

Watch for Trends Ahead

This image is from MiniTrends, a book by John Vanston that I strongly endorse. I’ve known John for years and did consulting work for his company, Technology Futures. His book inspired the vision of Modern Health Talk, because it helped me see unfulfilled opportunity at the intersection of trends. (Click image to see book)

“What the Hell is happening to health care?”

“And is it an Opportunity or a Threat?”

Insights by Wayne Caswell, Founder of Modern Health Talk.

An awful lot has changed in just the last few years and even more will change in the near future, with the aim of reducing (or at least containing) our health care costs. What’s behind these MiniTrends, and what is their implication for providers, payers and consumers? That’s the $1.5 trillion question. Here I talk about many, many MiniTrends–surely you can find 101 of them if you look! 

“It is not the strongest or the most intelligent who will survive but those who can best manage change.” – Charles Darwin

That quote is important, because 429 of the original Fortune 500 companies [1955] are no longer in business today. That’s a scary thought for those sitting at the top of the healthcare mountain, because they know they must adapt to the megatrend of health reform and Obamacare (the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act) or die. And they are looking down with fear at the hungry competitors who are already exploiting the many related minitrends, because for them these are times of great opportunity.

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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 …

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 …

WanderID – a new identification service

WanderID face matching technologyWanderID is a new service that uses biometric face matching software to give you peace of mind, knowing  that your loved one can be easily identified if they wander away or get lost.

You register and upload photos of a loved one to the WanderID website. If they then get lost, a police officer or EMT could use their smart phone to take a picture and search the company’s database. That’s when the service matches their photo with ones you uploaded, so you can get reconnected with loved one. It works just as well for small children or seniors with dementia. 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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Medical Records in the hands of Patients

Various types of Medical Alerts are shown. Click to read a related article about Maintaining Personal Health RecordsEach time you go to the doctor’s office, they start by scanning through your medical record for notes entered last time, as well as vital signs (including pulse & blood pressure), past test results, medications & vaccines,  etc. If it’s your first visit, the doctor begins by looking over any medical history and health records or narrative of symptoms you provide.

That information doesn’t automatically follow you as you see multiple healthcare providers. Your primary care physician may be a general practitioner, but you may also see an allergist, cardiologist, dentist, dermatologist, gynecologist, radiologist, urologist, and more. Because each office or medical facility maintains its own records and doctor’s notes, you likely have to give nearly the same information again and again each you visit someone new.

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How Safe is your Personal Health Information?

HackerGoogle

By Wayne Caswell, Modern Health Talk

People worry about the security of their identity, financial and medical information when they hear stories of hacker attacks on large commercial and government websites, including AOL, Hotmail, Microsoft, MySpace, NASA, Sony, Stratfor, USBank, VeriSign, VISA, Xbox, Yahoo, and many others. They also worry when they read about Target, Google, Facebook, and Twitter pushing privacy boundaries and taking liberties with their collected customer data. Both types of stories dilute trust.

It doesn’t much help if a company that overreaches and gets caught simply promises to do better, and then if public outrage prompts potential legislation, they join industry initiatives to propose new plans for self-regulation, such as the publication of privacy policies that users seldom read.

This article addresses the question, “How Safe is your Personal Health Information?” It examines the benefits and security risks of storing your personal health information online, based on my own personal experiences and decades of IT experience. But I’d like to hear of your experiences in the comments section too.

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A Totally New Healthcare System

KingOfTheWorldFive months ago I posted a challenge on Linkedin titled, “Innovative Ideas for a Totally New Healthcare System?” and it generated a discussion that’s been active for 5 months now with over 900 responses from different perspectives worldwide.

As a fun exercise to stimulate creative, out-of-box thinking, pretend you have all been appointed to the new World Health Commission by the new King of the World (or whatever title you prefer). You have absolute power to determine health strategy, for the whole world. Think like a child, and forget the constraints you’re used to dealing with as adults. There are no financial hurdles, no political worries, no cultural barriers, no legacy to contend with, no managers looking over your shoulders, and no imposed time frames. What is it that patients, providers and society seek from healthcare? Why can’t they get that now? Starting with a completely blank canvas, what would be the objectives of the new System? Imagine potential roadblocks and how we might overcome them.

The discussion has evolved, and most participants have come in and out of it, but Clifford Thornton posted one of the longest and most thoughtful replies and gave me permission to reprint it here.

A Totally New Healthcare System

By Clifford Thornton

Wow sir, a blank sheet; this is a dynamic exercise.

I came into the healthcare field about 9 years ago from a marketing strategy business background in the cable/telecommunication industry. Let me say that I cannot think or even imagine a bigger contrast in terms of quality of service, efficiencies, level of customer satisfaction, duplication of service levels, delivery, and range/availability of services.

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How is Technology Affecting the Way we Live at Home?

From roofers to plumbers and lawyers to dentists, eLocal.com helps consumers find businesses in their local neighborhood.

How is Technology Affecting the Way we Live at Home?

This question from eLocal.com was asked of several expert home remodelers, and I found the responses insightful and thought provoking. Here are some of the comments that caught my attention [edited]. Pay particular attention to the last comment.

BillRiggs@RiggsConstruction says:

Home technology is becoming much more cost-effective for middle class households. Years ago, systems like home automation were reserved for high-end renovations and home construction. With recent innovations such as smart phones and the iPad, wireless devices can be tied into lower cost automation systems for a similar level of control. In the past few years as energy prices have risen, we have seen many homeowners wanting to regulate their lighting and HVAC with automation, cutting their emissions and monthly bill.

Moving into the future, I expect technology to continue becoming more accessible to “everyday people.” Also, I expect to see growth in the systems used to monitor energy usage, as well as systems used to monitor older adults aging in place, especially as baby boomers retire.

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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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:

Read More …

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.

Read More …

Future of Home Automation (market research)

Reportlinker Adds The Future of Home Automation

NEW YORK, May 17, 2011 /PRNewswire/ — Reportlinker.com announces that a new market research report is available in its catalogue:

The Future of Home Automation [mHealthTalk comments and emphasis added]

http://www.reportlinker.com/d0105687542/The-future-of-the-Home-Automation-Industry.html

Introduction

This [$2,875] report examines how consumers and governments are creating a booming market for “smart home” devices. It analyzes the companies, technologies, and products behind automation in energy, entertainment, home security and health care. It details pilot projects, product costs, industry trends, business alliances, and the new and emerging technologies that are shaping the future of the market.

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MEDCottage: a place for mom

MEDCottage

MEDCottage introduces new way to care for loved ones

Home health care can avoid higher costs of institutional care in a nursing home or assisted living facility, but making space may be an issue. Fortunately, there are many options. You can give grandma the spare bedroom, convert a garage into living space, remodel the home, or add a small cottage on your property.

That last option is the idea behind MEDCottage, a charming modular home that serves as a “mini-medical facility.” It’s designed like a deluxe trailer for the elderly, but it doesn’t look like a trailer. I like the idea of relying on experts to integrate various systems, where the combined value is greater than the sum benefits of each part.

Read More …