Can Home Automation Systems Help Seniors Age in Place Longer?


As appealing as today’s senior living communities may be for many people, some seniors just prefer to stay in their homes as long as possible. The reasons to remain at home may be practical or sentimental, but for many seniors, a significant support network must be put in place to help this happen.

Technology can help more seniors live at home, without 24/7 assistance, for longer. For instance, systems ranging from the Nexia Home Intelligence to Crestron’s high-end home automation systems can provide remote control of everything from televisions to lighting, heat and air conditioning, shades, even door locks.

Mark Ontiveros of Audio Images, a Tustin, Calif.-based integrator and certified dealer of Crestron home automation products, notes some of the advances in technology developed for the older generation. “We’ve created a panic button that the client can carry with them around the property. When pressed, lights flash, the phone rings, and others in the house immediately know something is wrong,” he says. Systems can also provide location tracking and remote monitoring to detect a problem if a senior can’t signal for help.

Let’s explore the main benefits of home automation systems for seniors living alone:

Benefits to Home Automation

Comfort and safety – Avoid walking up stairs to adjust lighting, heat or air conditioning with remote control of all home technology systems through an iPad, tablet or smartphone.

Peace-of-mind for caregivers through remote monitoring – “In addition to being able to check in on their loved ones remotely via cameras and monitor the comings and goings from the home, caregivers can also receive alerts if no motion has been detected in the house,” explains Matt McGovren, NEXIA marketing leader.

Remote locks and scheduled access codes provide greater security for seniors – Locks that can be controlled through a smartphone or tablet allow family members to unlock the door remotely for a neighbor or emergency personnel. Managing and scheduling access codes for home health care and other visitors makes it easier to leave loved ones home alone, knowing locks will open for those with authorized access, even if a loved one can’t get to the door easily. Schlage and Yale manufacture locks that integrate with Nexia and Crestron systems, respectively.

Water and fire alerts help ensure a loved one’s safety – With added components, many home automation systems can turn off water if a leak is detected or alert the fire department automatically in the event of a fire.

Is a Home Automation System Right For You Or Your Loved One?

The choice of home automation products depends on the buyer’s needs and budget. Fortunately, robust systems are now more economical than ever, although a greater level of customization carries a higher price tag.

“Many people think that adding a home automation system to their home means they need to be tech-savvy, but with the right system it’s the exact opposite,” says Crestron residential marketing manager Delia Hansen. “Systems can be programmed with one big button that’s easy to find and takes care of routine tasks, such as turning off all the lights before bed once the senior is safely in bed. We can automate almost any home system so that seniors can continue to live independently.”

One of today’s popular home automation systems may just play a role in keeping a loved one in their own home longer, if that’s their desire, while providing the caregiver with greater peace-of-mind.

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