Smart Home, Healthy Home
Today’s Inventive Integration of home automation and healthcare is life-changing
We’re just beginning to realize the enormous potential of home automation. For years, we’ve recognized the elegance, comfort, convenience, and safety aspects of a fully integrated home, but we’re learning that those attributes are just the tip of the iceberg. Smart homes of today can aid the disabled, monitor the ill and enable our West Michigan residents the opportunity to stay in their homes longer.
It doesn’t seem so long ago that baby monitors splashed onto the market. Young parents could breathe a sigh of relief and enjoy “mobility” while carrying the clunky walkie-talkie around from room to room. But then…the baby cam was introduced and suddenly we could watch over the crib day and night. Flash forward and now we can check in our homes via our smart devices anytime and from virtually anywhere. We appreciate the convenience and peace of mind that brings and value being able to watch over our homes, teens and even our precious pets, but imagine the comfort of being able to watch over an elderly parent.
Modern healthcare is finding new, innovative ways to capitalize on our connected homes, allowing people to remain in comfortable, familiar surroundings longer. Automated, simple-to-use devices can remind an elderly person to take their medication or instruct an autistic individual how to prepare a meal. Caregivers can be alerted when an Alzheimer patient opens a door or when a diabetic’s glucose monitor sounds. For an added measure of security, automated lighting can be triggered as well so that, in the event an audible alarm is missed, visual cues will wake the caregiver while lighting the way to their loved one. Visual prompts can also be life-enhancing for the hearing impaired and elderly.
Voice and “Stress” Control, Courtesy of Alexa
The more recent introduction of integrated voice control devices such as google Home and Amazon Alexa has opened up a whole new realm in home healthcare. Individuals that may otherwise be physically or mentally unable to operate a touch panel or keypad can now gain control of smart appliances, home entertainment and security devices, affording them welcomed independence.
Home automation, especially voice-controlled devices, also have a positive impact on our mental health. Multiple medical studies from various academics from Rutgers, Stanford, and University British Columbia have concluded that individuals who feel a greater sense of environmental control demonstrate increased persistence, motivation, and optimism, and have been shown to have lower risk for psychopathology. That research extends to the smart home, allowing the homeowner the ability to be “in control”, accessing features that reduce worry, hence stress levels.
Innovative technologies continue to transform our lives and home automation, initially thought to be purely a luxury, has become a wonderful, life-changing tool.The life-saving stories are many and we can each likely envision a scenario where remote monitoring, automated lighting, cameras, door locks and voice control can make ours and our family’s life easier, healthier and more gratifying. Healthcare, along with our homes, just gets smarter and smarter.
Health Care in Home Automation Systems with Speech Recognition and Mobile Technology, American Journal of Engineering Research (AJER)
Digital Doctors: Home Automation is Redefining Healthcare, Collective Evolution
5 ways tech is changing retirement, Ameriprise Advisors
Smart Lighting: A Home Solution with Lots of Health Benefits, Control4 blog