Adding smart home safety features

Adding smart home safety features

You probably already have some “smart” features in your home.

For instance, a thermostat you can program for a higher temp during the day and lower at night. Perhaps it has remote capabilities, so you can make changes from afar.

Or sensors, such as garden sprinklers that shut off when it’s raining, or outdoor lights with motion detectors.

The most-recommended safety features for older adults include the following:

  • Automated indoor lighting to reduce the chance of falls. Many a fall occurs while walking to the bathroom in the middle of the night. Consider motion-activated nightlights set to turn on when you swing your feet down from the bed.
  • Voice-activated assistants. Similarly, a digital assistant allows you to change lighting or close the blinds simply by calling out to “Alexa” or “Siri.”
  • The video doorbell. This smart device tops AARP’s list for safety. Home invasions are on the rise, and just the presence of a camera will dissuade many a n’er-do-well, including “porch pirates” who steal packages left at your door. The ability to remotely check who is at the door is MUCH safer than getting up to look through a peephole. When linked to your phone, you can see, and even talk to, the person outside while remaining where you are. Features to consider:
    • Battery-operated or wired? Batteries must be recharged or replaced two to three times a year. Wired video doorbells can piggyback off the electrical wiring already powering your doorbell.
    • Two-way audio to talk to the person at the door.
    • Video storage: Where and how long? Some models overwrite the video every few days. Others allow you to store recordings in the cloud for longer, but this requires a monthly subscription.
    • Compatibility with your other smart devices. This enables centralized control.
    • Speed. How long does it take to get an alert or access the video?
    • Artificial intelligence to reduce false alerts. With this, some video doorbells can discern the movement of a person from that of an animal, car, or tree branch.
    • Do you want to monitor the alerts 24/7? If you prefer to have someone else on night duty—and false alerts—it usually requires a monthly fee.

Wondering how to wisely age in place?
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