Seniors at home are a growing concern for an ever-increasing segment of the American population. Baby boomers are reaching their golden years and are still healthy and active enough that they don’t require much more than a checkup now and then.
Home automation is perfect for seniors at home alone. There are several options for home automation systems, including both wired and wireless home automation systems, both of which can be installed by yourself or professionally installed.
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Differences Between Basic and Advanced Feature Sets
Most home automation systems have the most basic feature sets that make it easier for seniors at home to get along with a minimum of outside help. The most basic home automation systems allow for the lighting and usually heating and cooling systems to have the ability to be controlled remotely, either from a central control panel, a smartphone, a tablet, or a computer.
This is handy because it gives the seniors at home full control over two of the major systems in their house. When they need more or less lighting, instead of getting up and turning lights on or off, they can just click a few buttons in an interface and accomplish the desired task. When the temperature in the house leaves the comfort zone, the senior just needs to bring up the interface and adjust the temperature as desired, without having to get up.
Some of the home automation systems on the market today give you full control over the home security alarm system from the same interface, if the house is equipped with an alarm system. Trusted caregivers on a regular schedule can be given a PIN to control the security system and grant them access without a key. These PINs can be revoked when the caregiver moves on.
Trusted delivery people can also be given a PIN to facilitate their ability to make deliveries when only seniors are at home. The main control panel can give an audible alert when the PIN is entered, alerting the home’s occupants that visitors are present. Siblings and children can also be given access codes, allowing them to come and go without disturbing their senior relatives.
Home automation systems are beginning to take over the minutiae of daily life. With the right refrigerator and an Internet connection, your seniors at home don’t need to remember a shopping list for groceries and other necessities. The refrigerator can take and keep inventory of what is inside and help place the proper orders if this service is available locally. Otherwise, the shopping list can be printed and given to a shopping caregiver, or it can be emailed to the person that does the shopping for the seniors.
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The list of devices and systems that can be controlled by and interact with home automation systems is constantly growing. What is only a dream today, may be a possibility in a few months. Home automation control of household systems and services will only expand as time goes by.
Wireless Systems Aid Seniors at Home
Companies are making both wired and wireless home automation systems, and hybrid systems that combine features of both. With wired systems, home automation control occurs through the building’s wiring or wiring that is specifically installed for the system.
Wireless systems require no wires to connect devices and systems to the main control hub. All communication and control signals are sent between the devices and the hub wirelessly. Some systems are built to make use of the ZigBee home automation protocol, while others use the Z-Wave home automation protocol. There are hubs and systems that combine both ZigBee and Z-Wave protocols into a single system, while still others add 802.11 Wi-Fi connectivity between the main control and the device(s).
Professional or Do It Yourself Installation?
You’ve decided on one of the many systems that utilize both protocols, as well as allowing communication over an 802.11 Wi-Fi link. Do you have the system professionally installed or do it yourself? Doing it by yourself is going to save you quite a bit of money. Most of the systems on the mark today are very easy and straightforward to install and configure. This means that a professional really isn’t needed to install the most basic of home automation systems.
Controlling most lights entails nothing more than plugging the lamps into controlled electrical outlets. In fact, controlling most basic on-off devices entails nothing more than plugging them in. The Schlage home security system add-on requires that you replace your existing door lock with an electronic deadbolt with keypad and wireless control, setting up PIN numbers for the lock, and a few other minor steps. Honestly, unless you are installing one of the more advanced systems that adds control of windows, drapes, shades, blinds, and many other household accessories, the average person can easily do all the installation steps themselves.
Seniors at home now have access to automated home systems that should make everyone’s lives a little easier, including their own.
Photo Credit: Patrick Q