How Home Automation Can Help Reduce Accidents for Seniors

| January 30, 2020 | 0 Comments | Email This Post Email This Post

Home Automation Can Help Reduce Accidents for SeniorsBy Casey Ribick

When talking about the benefits of home automation, it’s generally done in an efficiency context. Implementing a home automation system saves a lot of tedium from household tasks, and in some cases, can even lead to energy efficiency. The secondary benefit is security, but it’s often talked about in terms of protecting property, not necessarily personal safety. This may be a bit of a mistake. Here are some of the key ways that a home automation system can minimize household accidents.

The Stakes Of Home Accidents

An accident in the home can be dangerous for anyone, but certain populations, like independent seniors, can be among the most at risk. Not only are groups like these more at risk of falls and similar accidents, but there’s a greater risk of long-term consequences if the situation isn’t attended to quickly. There are a few reasons why household accidents like these tend to occur.

For starters, many fall hazards in the home may not necessarily be true fall hazards, but end up becoming so due to a lack of lighting. For example, one piece of clutter in the corner of a dark room or in a hallway is easy to trip over. 75% of senior injuries in the U.S are caused by falls, so it’s important to take the time to target other potential causes as well.

For example, simple household tasks may become more difficult when getting older. This can include things from reaching higher shelves to taking care of pets. Sometimes, the physical exertion involved can lead to injuries. Many seniors get around this by taking steps to “senior-proof” their homes, like making sure all household items are easily accessible and outsourcing certain tasks to care professionals. However, this can be difficult to maintain.

Another common source of household injuries and accidents is fire and burns. This tends to stem from using appliances improperly. Sometimes, cognitive decline can happen slowly, and people may still be able to function relatively independently while still having occasional moments of forgetfulness. If this happens when operating an electrical item or an oven, there is a major accident risk there.

Home Automation For Protection

At this point, some of the common causes of senior injuries have been addressed. But how exactly does home automation help deal with this? As mentioned before, lighting issues are one of the most common causes for falls, turning an otherwise safe area into a trip hazard. There are a variety of home automation options to help tackle this issue, from smart sensors that light a room as soon as someone walks into a centralized light control that means everything can be turned on or off from a single area. There are also home automation tools that can turn lights on and off on a timed schedule.

As an additional note, a lot of the time, falls are caused by overexertion, like reaching to get that high-up item or trying to open a door that’s stuck. Automated doors and cabinets take a lot of the risk out of these daily tasks, especially combined with conventional options like mobility devices and handrails.

In the event that a fall does happen, home automation can also play a key role in getting help as well. Technology has advanced for a variety of wearable options that allow seniors to reach out for help after a fall, even if they can’t make it to a phone. Some of these are designed to use accelerometers and other features to detect falls and call emergency services automatically.

Other Considerations

In addition, for many seniors, temperature extremes are a concern. The elderly are among the first people to feel the effects of heavy cold and heat, meaning that proper temperature regulation is important. At the same time, the fact that many seniors live on fixed incomes means that they need to carefully monitor their utility bills. The good news is that home automation can help with both. Setting a temperature standard for the home to stay at will help keep the senior in your life financially and physically secure.

One final thing that bears mentioning is that even if seniors aren’t in full cognitive decline, they may have a tendency to forget important tasks, like taking medication or restocking a refrigerator. Home automation and smart appliances help make this a lot easier. Smart pillboxes, for example, can link to other devices to provide reminders on what medication to take and when.

What type of home automation you use for yourself or for a senior loved one is going to vary based on needs. However, it bears mentioning that you want to think ahead. Having as many convenient features as possible will help minimize more and more accident risks now and in the future.

By Casey Ribick

Casey Ribick is a writer for Senior Care Center and manages an assisted living facility in Southern California. He writes about the health, senior care, and financial planning and enjoys connecting with audiences with his writing.

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Category: Blog, Senior Health