Smart speakers are helping elders and their families address, and even alleviate their shared concerns.
How does having a Smarter Home help avoid falls?
According to the National Council on Aging Falls Prevention Facts, one in four Americans aged 65+ falls each year. Every 11 seconds, an older adult is treated in the emergency room for a fall; every 19 minutes, an older adult dies from a fall.
Some key ways to prevent falls are increasing physical mobility, improving home and environmental safety with home modifications including smart home technology, and reducing medication impact on falls.
A common way falls occur is with improper lighting.
Using Smart lighting with sensors and voice control to light the way from the bedroom to bathroom in the night hours is one way to avoid the lighting impact on falls.
Improper use of medication can cause falls in the home.
To reduce medication impact on falls, a personal digital assistant can remind an individual to take their medication at the proper time. The assistant can even be taught to state which medication and dosage to take and when.
We all can’t always be there, nor does our elder want us to be.
With an Amazon Echo Show, for example, a family member, friend or even professional can drop-in for a video visit at med time. I will explain more about drop in visits in my next blog post.
Some more examples of ways Smart Speakers help avoiding falls include : making phone calls and controlling the TV with voice remote control; using a video doorbell used to see who is at the door without scaling the stairs or opening the door to unknown persons.
Supported Amazon Echo smart speakers can be configured with Alexa Guard to detect specific sounds, such as the sound of smoke alarms, carbon monoxide alarms, and glass breaking or a security system alarm. When it detects those sounds, it can send a notification on your phone letting you know that there is a threat at your or your elder’s home.
Loneliness, depression and cognitive decline
Independence loss and isolation can result in loneliness, depression and cognitive decline for the disabled and elderly.
Video Visits are an Antidote for Loneliness and Depression
Amazon Echo Show, Google Home Hub and Facebook Portal enable family and friends to have video visits without having to learn how to use a computer smartphone or tablet.
Since Smart Speakers are able to detect a voice almost anywhere in the room those with mobility issues can benefit greatly with a personal digital assistant from controlling lighting to being able to answer the doorbell to name a few examples.
Hearing and sight impairment does not limit an individual from using a Smart Speaker. A personal digital assistant can enable someone who is sight impaired to enjoy books read to them by their personal assistant or a person with a hearing loss can use a Smart Speaker with a video screen communicate with their digital assistant by the use of closed captioning.
Smart speakers still work well for those who have moderate hearing and sight impairment with further customization.
How about Privacy?
Smart speakers are always listening for commands. This raises privacy concerns..
Companies like Google are being examined more and more by the Federal government regarding what they do with our private information. Regarding Alexa, for example, Amazon’ stand is that Alexa is listening for the wake word, i.e. “Alexa,” and does not store any information spoken if the wake word is not used or if the device is not activated by pressing a button on the smart speaker.
If you don’t want the Smart Speaker to listen at all, you can push the microphone button to mute sounds in the environment. Cameras can be also be disabled with the push of a button or voice command.
Helpmeronda.tech makes choosing and using a smart speaker SIMPLE.
I do this by sitting with the persons who the Smart Speaker will benefit and find out about the individual and their families, their needs and preferences. In addition to custom fitting you with the right device, I can also program the devices for specific needs.
If you already own an Alexa, Google or Apple device I will help you get more out of your device than weather forecasts or listening to your favorite song.
Free one-hour consultation
I recommend just what is needed, no more, no less to get you off to a comfortable and peaceful start with your Smart Speaker or add to your existing Smart Home technology.