Imagine a home where every device is “smart,” including the trash can and the silverware. Perfectly equipped for aging independent adults, the setting allow families to check on loved ones remotely, and those living in the home can connect in real time with medical professionals, physical therapy programs and other health care initiatives.
This is the home of the future that can keep seniors out of institutional care, and it’s being made a reality by one broadband communications provider, Cox.
Currently being modeled in homes across the country, the “Connected Independence” senior smart home is equipped to help extend the length of time a person can remain living independently, with or without in-home caregivers.
“Smart home technology can help families avoid the wrenching decision and the expense of moving an aging parent to an assisted living facility,” said Ryland Madison, director of product marketing, Cox Communications, in a press release. “A connected home ensures seniors can continue their daily routine while maintaining—and even enhancing—their quality of life in their own home.”
Inside the home
A visit to the connected independence home has some of the popular devices that have taken American households by storm: Amazon’s Echo device equipped with its Alexa technology platform for voice-enabled commands and activities; a smart pill dispenser that alerts residents when it’s time to take their medication; and smart motion sensors that can detect activity in and around the house.
But the smart devices also extend to every room from the kitchen to the dining room, entertainment center and bedroom.
The kitchen is equipped with a GeniCan, a device that is attached to the trash bin and allows users to scan the barcodes of the packaging they are discarding so the item can automatically be added to the user’s shopping list. It also has a smart slow cooker, a Parrot Pot to water the plants and a Feed and Go Feeder to feed the dog.
For those with hearing impairment, there’s a platform to transcribe voicemail. For those with loved ones in other states, the The TP-Link Smart Plug allows seniors or their families to turn devices on and off, check their status, create schedules and set timers for devices in conjunction with Amazon Alexa’s voice-enabled technology.
And for health care needs, individuals can track their vital signs and call a doctor for a telehealth visit, complete a remote physical therapy session, or speak to a nutritionist live about meal preparation or with questions about portions.
Family members, likewise, can “pop in” via a screen attachment for Alexa that brings the family member right into the home.
Cox offers several of the smart home features and provides the network platform via panoramic wi-fi for many other devices and service providers. The company sees its foray into smart homes as a major solution to the aging wave that is ahead.
“Now that we have all these devices connected, with heart monitors [and other monitors], it’s a lifeline,” Madison tells HHCN. “It’s staying connected for potential emergency purposes, but as you grow older and your kids move out of the home, it’s staying connected with them as well.”
Written by Elizabeth Ecker