Posts Tagged ‘security’

Fire Safety and Seniors: Builders Oppose Sprinklers

House fireFire 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, 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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Future of Home Automation (market research)

Reportlinker Adds The Future of Home Automation

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

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


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 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.

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Home Healthcare products shown at Electronic House Expo

The Electronic House Expo is a trade show produced by CE Pro magazine for the custom electronics business. Home Healthcare, Home Automation and Home Entertainment were just some of the applications demonstrated this year at EHX 2011 in Orlando. The following video shows highlights of the show.

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Don’t Just Blame Dementia

By Michael Friedman, L.M.S.W., Adjunct Associate Professor, Columbia University’s schools of social work and public health (reprinted from Huffington Post, 4/3/11)

After a person has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease or other dementia, subsequent emotional, mental, cognitive, and behavioral problems are usually blamed on the disease. Other possible reasons including behavioral disorders such as depression, anxiety, or substance abuse or ordinary human reactions to tough realities are very often ignored.

“Grandma seems terribly sad.”
“Of course, she has Alzheimer’s”
“Grandpa has been nasty lately.”
“It’s the Alzheimer’s.
“Uncle John doesn’t enjoy life anymore.”
“Who would? He has dementia.”
“Mom isn’t eating much or isn’t taking her pills or isn’t getting any exercise.”
“It must be the Alzheimer’s.”

Not necessarily. In fact, blaming dementia very often gets in the way of understanding what is really going on and doing something about it that will help.

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Wanderers welcome: New technologies for resident safety

By Julie Williamson, 4/01/2011, with permission from McKnight’s Long-Term Care News & Assisted Living

Much of Julie’s advice for assisted living centers can also help people with neurological problems stay longer in the familiar surroundings of their homes, so I thank her for letting me republish it here.

As more seniors enter assisted living with mild to moderate dementia, operators are faced with a somewhat daunting dilemma: how they can keep residents who tend to wander safe, without stripping them of their independence and freedom to roam the community they call home.

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Smarter Homes for Home Healthcare

Mr Coffee

Mr Coffee programmable coffee pot

Smart home technologies can anticipate needs and make tasks easier or automatic. They’re not just about high-end new homes, proprietary technologies, and professional installation. They’re about comfort, convenience, entertainment, energy management, communications, pet care, surveillance, and security & health monitoring. And you can often install them yourself, starting with the simplest of applications.

Your Coffeepot – I bet, if you look around, you’ll find that you already have some home automation products. It’s really not scary. The purpose of this article is to get you thinking how these products can help with home healthcare.

I was still working at IBM as a market strategist when our family moved from Dallas to Austin. I was trying to convince IBM that it had an IBM-scale opportunity in home automation, and I was studying that market. So when I built our new home, I used it as an experiment. I figured if my technophobic wife warmed to the benefits, then others would too. She did, mostly, and I learned a lot.

The local paper wrote a two-page article about my house, Home Automation Station, but that was 1997, and I retired two years later to become a Digital Home consultant.
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Household Tips for Aging in Place

Most Americans want to stay in their homes as they age.

Source: AARP & National Association of Home Builders

AARP says the vast majority of Americans over age 50 want to stay in their homes as they age. We’d rather stay in familiar surroundings with treasured memories and nearby friends and neighbors than seek assisted living and other options. Most homes, however, weren’t designed with that objective in mind. Often built by and for younger generations, they can pose hazards to someone with impaired mobility, balance or vision. Fortunately, some relatively inexpensive adaptations can accommodate life changes as we age. This article addresses the simplest of them.

Safety & Mobility

As we get older, or suffer an injury or other disability, our sore joints, weakened muscles, and a lack of balance, dexterity and vision make simple tasks difficult, including reaching, bending, lifting, and moving about more. This can contribute to accidents and affect our personal hygiene, nutrition, and well-being.

So remember what Benjamin Franklin said, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” With planning and preparation, you can help prevent falls and injuries rather than react to them.
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