Smart home technology often seems like something out of The Jetsons – but it’s a fast growing industry, with equipment that can control all elements of daily living.
Modern seniors are looking to age in place and reduce their environmental impact. Let’s explore the smart home technologies that make aging in place easier – and greener – than ever for seniors.
1. The Shower of Tomorrow
Seniors move slower and take longer in the shower. As well they should. The bathroom is the number one location in the home for slips and falls. Smart showers help savvy seniors save money on water and energy use.
Smart showers recycle and filter used shower water. It analyzes the water, draining away dirty water. At the same time, smart showers treat, reheat and reuse the clean water. This results in 80% energy and water savings as compared to traditional showerheads.
Most convenient for seniors, smart showers like the EcoVéa shower have pushbutton electronic interfaces. The digital controls are easier for seniors with mobility difficulties. This mitigates the risk of burns and scalding from a hot surge of water.
2. The Toilet of The Future
The lid lifts when you approach. The seat is warm in anticipation of your arrival. Your favorite music syncs with your smart phone and plays through the built-in speakers. The electronic bidet function makes clean up easier. Not only that, but smart toilets use less water than conventional models.
The next generation smart toilet can also manage your health. It will keep a record of stool frequency and bowel habits. It will track consistency and straining. It will analyze the data for optimal health and send information to designated caregivers. Your care team can use the information to help you stay regular.
This gives new meaning to the term “porcelain throne!”
3. The Power Source of The Digital Age
Today, 20 percent of electric use goes to phantom loads – energy drained while devices draw power in stand-by mode. Conventional plugs also make seniors bend over or crouch in awkward positions. But, the humble power outlet is getting smarter.
Seniors can now control smart power strips via iPhone apps. This smart tech ratchets down energy consumption when appliances are in standby mode. Also, seniors no longer need to bend over and click the power switch. This takes a load off old backs and joints, and reduces the risk of accidents.
Many of us will experience age-related memory loss. Smart power strips mean we never have to worry whether we turned off the iron before we left home.
For more information on smart power strips, see Pivot Power Genius, Belkin WeMo Strips, Visible Energy Wifi Power Strip, or ThinkEco Modlet.
4. The Ceiling Fan of The Selfie Era
The smart fan has a computer and sensors. It knows when you’re uncomfortable and need more air circulation. Smart fans like the Haiku from Delta T monitor your room’s temperature and humidity. It adjusts fan speed for your increased convenience. It learns your comfort preferences and adjusts to what you need. You never need to run it when you’re not there, but it starts up when you enter a room.
Seniors will live safer and no longer have to fiddle with the ceiling fan pull chain dance again. Moreover, the fan saves energy, nicely stretching fixed income dollars.
5. Next Generation HVAC
HVACs can be a major drain on electricity, especially if you live in a temperate climate. Next-generation HVACs feature tools that enable you to track your energy use. They help save costs and control temperature at the touch of a button. You can gain digital insight into where you are saving or wasting energy. They can tell you how your actions impact your carbon footprint and they can compare your energy use to other homes.
Heating issues are a major concern for seniors as they manage costs and keep the home warm during cold winters and cool during hot summers. Programmable thermostats like the Nest help seniors and caregivers. A caregiver can watch the temperature from afar, helping them maintain comfort in their homes.
6. Cool Roofs And Blade Runner Windows
Maybe you can move beyond smart HVAC to no HVAC? Seniors can take the next step to carbon net zero and install a cool roof. Depending on the season and the temperature, cool roofs reflect or absorb more of the sun’s rays. This offers more insulation when compared to standard roofing. Cool roofs improve exterior and interior temperatures of a home. This decreases the need for HVAC and reduces CO2 emissions to boot.
To maximize their energy savings, seniors can pair their cool roofs with dynamic glass windows. Seniors can adjust their window tint via a mobile device. Smart windows are a good option rather than messing with stuck vertical blinds or adding unneeded light.
There you go. Here are six life-changing, earth saving smart home technologies. Not only are these products better for environmental sustainability, but they are also perfect for seniors aging in place. Go forth and enter the future!
Shayne Fitz-Coy is the Co-CEO and President of Alert-1, an aging-in-place technology company headquartered in Williamsport, Pennsylvania with offices nationwide. Shayne has a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Harvard College and a Masters in Business Administration from the Stanford Graduate School of Business. Shayne hails from Maryland, and now calls the Bay Area home.