When you think of people who buy smart home gadgets, young, tech-savvy Millennials who are always “early adopters” may come to mind. While it’s true that the younger generations are more apt to chase the latest that technology has to offer, the customers who may benefit the most from high-tech home security features are a few generations ahead.
One of the most popular smart home tools on the market today is a re-imagining of the home security system through the use of smart wireless cameras that are part of an Internet-enabled smart home hub. Whether you’re a retired homeowner looking for more peace of mind, or a family caregiver looking for a reliable safety tool for an elderly loved one, smart cameras can be a helpful upgrade to an older adult’s home.
Keep an Eye on the Outside
For elderly adults who are homebound, outdoor security cameras (available from the hardware store or your Internet service provider for around $200) can go a long way in keeping them and their families aware of their surroundings.
Most modern outdoor cameras feature both motion detection and night vision, and they can be part of a home-monitoring service package, making them the perfect tool for seniors who live alone. These systems can also help police identify vandals and alert homeowners to intruders before they ever make it to an entrance.
Many of these cameras are also enabled with cloud video recording features that help monitor potential problems, keeping a digital eye on everything from trivial matters (such as identifying garden pests) to critical ones (viewing suspicious visitors or verifying important deliveries). For many seniors, these cameras can give some much-needed visibility to the outside world.
Answering the door to solicitors and salespeople can be a nuisance, but it’s especially taxing for people who can’t get back and forth to the door easily, or who may be wary of opening the door to strangers. A video doorbell ($150–$250) is a valuable tool that can help the elderly and their caregivers “screen” front porch visits.
These doorbells can send notifications to a variety of devices, making it easier to tell when a visitor is at the door. Also, many provide live video feeds with two-way voice chat, allowing homeowners (or even caregivers) to speak with visitors without having to leave the couch.
This quality-of-life improvement has another benefit: Video doorbells have also been shown to help deter crime.
Improve Safety Within the Home
Indoor smart cameras might be the most valuable safety tool for older generations and their caregivers. Besides performing basic functions, like keeping an eye on the house while residents are away, the software and motion detection that accompany these affordable ($150–$200) cameras may even be a lifesaver.
Smart cameras can be combined with smart home devices to help improve safety, especially for elderly adults living on their own. When you pair connected-home devices with a home automation hub from the hardware store or your Internet service provider, they unlock a world of enhanced functionality.
The following features can be managed and controlled remotely from one platform.
- Smart lights throughout the home can be set to turn on and off automatically when the camera detects motion, lighting the way for midnight trips to the bathroom or late-night visits to the kitchen.
- A smart thermostat, once it’s set up with the home hub, can automatically adjust the temperature inside the home based on your preferences. This means the homeowner won’t need to get up in the middle of the night to adjust it.
- Smart locks allow users to lock or unlock a door from their tablet, giving seniors and caregivers the ability to let visitors in without even getting up.
Give Caregivers Peace of Mind
As helpful as these tools are to seniors themselves, their caregivers may be the ones who benefit most from having them. It’s comforting to be able to check in on the status of an aging loved one via camera, and their motion-detecting features can make all the difference in urgent care scenarios.
Caregivers can set up these devices to receive notifications when motion is detected at an unusual time, or when motion isn’t detected at a time when it’s expected. A quick video checkup can make a big difference between a false alarm or catching a life-threatening emergency.
As you evaluate your own safety devices or consider new tools for caring for a loved one, don’t overlook the benefits of today’s smart cameras. With low upfront costs and cloud storage — and with options to bundle services into your existing Internet service plan — they can help an older generation of techies feel safe and secure.
Eric Murrell is a software developer and technology contributor to XFINITY Home. He enjoys sharing tips on how people, including seniors, can benefit from incorporating smart home security in their homes on his blog, At Home in the Future.
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