Technology is advancing faster than ever before. Today, many Americans have ability to make their home smart. What is a “smart home?”

The phrase refers to a house that has an interlinking set of internet-connected gadgets inside it that can simplify or enhance many things for the people living in it. While many have taken advantage of smart home technology to make their lives more comfortable (e.g., to set a temperature schedule or remotely control the electronics in their home), it can also improve the home safety for millions of seniors. How?

Getting Connected

Generally, smart home technology digitally connects through a smart hub. This hub allows you to manage all your gadgets in one place digitally. Usually, you can use a smartphone or tablet to control them, but some hubs have touchscreens that act as a home command center. Luckily, you don’t have to pick just one option when setting up your system. You can use multiple devices to control your smart home, and multiple family members can hold the reins as well. This feature is especially useful for individuals with dementia and their families, who may need to be able to monitor their loved one.

Another extremely helpful gadget that can connect your smart home tools is a voice-control device, like the Amazon Echo or Google Home. By simply speaking, you can use these devices to make a phone call hands-free, get answers to questions, and more importantly, command smart home gadgets.

If this has piqued your interest, you may be wondering what else these gadgets can do. From providing you with home safety, self-monitoring, and emergency assistance, there’s not much they can’t do!

Staying Secure

Protecting your home from intruders not only guards it against theft, but also assault. Sadly, there are people out there that see seniors as vulnerable targets for easy theft. In this sense, smart home tech can be one of your greatest shields. There are many ways that you can monitor your home to protect against intruders. One of the most straightforward ways is intrusion monitoring.

Intrusion Monitoring

While a standard security system can watch for intrusions, you often have to pay a monthly fee for the service. Smart home tech, like the Samsung SmartThings Multipurpose Sensor, Nest Detect, or Z-Wave Door and Window Sensor, can swiftly alert you to any intrusion. All you have to do is place the sensor at any door or window you want to monitor. If the magnetic sensors detect the door opening, the device will notify you immediately.

Smart Locks

Another way you can protect your home and self is to purchase smart locks. There are several ways that you can unlock smart locks. Some have codes that you input instead of a key. Some you wave a fob or your phone in front of. Others, you unlock through a smart home-connected device, like your phone or tablet. So, how are smart locks useful for seniors?

One big perk is they eliminate the need for a physical key.

One big perk is they eliminate the need for a physical key. This convenience can be good if you are prone to losing your keys or struggle with identifying the correct one. Smart lock also gives you remote control over your locks. If you go to the grocery store and remember you forgot to lock up, you can fix that with your phone. Some smart locks can act as a trigger to arm your home security system. Finally, you can also control some smart locks with devices like Alexa or Google Home. The locks and devices must be compatible — such as the August, Dwelo, or Kevo locks — but they allow you to lock your doors with a voice. Let’s say you hear a suspicious noise outside. Without leaving the couch, you could lock every door in your house.

Smart Doorbell

It is highly suggested that seniors don’t open the door to anyone they don’t know. If you’ve ever received an unsolicited knock on your door, you can confirm how nerve-wracking a stranger at the door can feel. Like many of the home safety problems you face, there is a smart home solution!

A smart doorbell gives you a live view of who’s knocking from behind the safety of a locked door.

In this instance, a smart (or video) doorbell can allow you to have a live view of who’s at the door from behind the safety of a locked door. When choosing a doorbell, it’s important to look at the features and the compatibility. Some devices even offer you two-way talk capabilities, meaning you can communicate with the stranger with ease. Others record the video, which can be helpful should the worst happen. If someone tries to break into your home, your video doorbell could help catch the perpetrator.

Smart Camera

Finally, to ensure that nothing in or outside of your home is ever out of view, you can employ smart cameras. Similar to the video doorbell, you can remotely view smart cameras from your phone or tablet. Many also have some form of motion sensor to notify you if the camera is picking up something suspicious.

As you check the locks on your tablet, you can call 911 — all while safely in your bed.

Let’s say you’re at the grocery store again, and you get a notification from your intrusion sensor that your backdoor has been opened. You check your camera to see who it is, ready to call the police. Luckily, it’s just your grandkids with their parents, surprising you with a visit. Later that night, you’re in bed when the camera overlooking your backyard picks up some motion. You pull up the video on your phone and see someone you don’t recognize. You have an Amazon Echo, so you say, “Alexa, lock the doors.” As you check the locks on your tablet, you can call 911 — all while safely in your bed.

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A common phrase is that your home is your castle. Well, castles had moats for a reason. Making your home a smart home is a great way to build a strong defense against criminals. With a system of interconnected smart gadgets, your fortress can be your secure sanctum, impregnable and safe.

Further Reading

The Shop & Enroll Blog — Why a Smart Home is a Safe Home: Emergencies
The Shop & Enroll Blog — Why a Smart Home is a Safe Home: Health Monitoring
The Shop & Enroll Blog — Why a Smart Home is a Safe Home: Dementia Caregiving