People often say that home is where the heart is. This, in part, may explain why more adults than ever are choosing to remain in their homes into their golden years. Despite the growing popularity of the aging in place movement, very few homes are equipped to meet the unique needs of older adults. Many may develop physical and visual impairments that make day-to-day living difficult and sometimes even dangerous as they age. Because of this, those who choose to age in place may need to make modifications to their homes to live safely and comfortably.
Studies show that environmental factors like weak lighting cause as many as 50% of falls experienced by older adults. These falls often result in severe injuries, making independent living even more difficult. Despite these staggering statistics, there is good news: many falls can be avoided with proper preparation. Seniors and their caregivers can turn to smart technologies to help manage these risks and prepare their homes for aging in place. Intelligent home lighting systems allow older adults to feel safer in their own homes.
Motion Sensor Lights
Many older adults need brighter lights throughout their homes to see clearly. Smart home lighting systems provide the ability to adjust lighting levels quickly and efficiently.
- Automated lighting systems like the Phillips Hue have color-changing LED light bulbs that can be controlled from a smartphone, allowing an aging adult to find the right color and brightness that works for them.
- Smart light bulbs are dimmable and can change intensity with a simple voice command.
- Many intelligent lighting systems can “learn” a senior’s routine and automatically adjust to meet their needs over time.
"See It & Forget It" Automation
Studies show that 80% of homeowners over the age of 75 have been injured in a fall. Low, inadequate lighting contributes to many of these cases, especially when an aging parent cannot make it to the light switch. Smart home lighting systems can allow a safer and independent lifestyle by providing an extra layer of protection for them when they are most vulnerable.
- Smart home lighting systems can come equipped with motion sensor lights that turn on automatically when someone passes. These should be installed in high-risk areas like stairways, hallways, and bathrooms to better support an aging parent.
- Motion sensor lights turn on and off automatically, ensuring loved ones don’t have to double-back and walk in the dark.
- Many motion-activated lights can sense movement from a substantial distance away, allowing for the senior’s path to be lit before they even step foot in an area.
As caregivers, we can operate appliances remotely with a mini smart Wi-Fi plug. The plug allows us to switch lights and other electronics on and off, check their current status, and schedule their operation from a mobile device through apps.
Improved Lighting Accessibility
Knobs, switches, and turn dials can create unique challenges for aging parents with mobility impairments, making it difficult to operate lamps and even some overhead lighting. For many families, smart home lighting is an inventive solution that allows their parent to live independently without these small daily struggles.
- Many smart lighting systems are voice-activated and compatible with smart home hubs like the Amazon Alexa, giving older adults the ability to control lighting by just stating what they need.
- Smart light switches and LED bulbs can convert a smartphone into a virtual light switch, allowing them to turn on connected lights and fans from anywhere with an internet connection.
- Most smart lighting systems on the market are easy to set up and control, making them accessible to anyone who could benefit regardless of their technological prowess.