How Smart Home Tech Can Help You Care for Elderly Parents
Published: July 16, 2020
Home Security, Home Monitoring, Smart Cam, Hedge App
Around the world, the average life expectancy is increasing. Just a few years ago, the number of people over the age of 64 surpassed the number of children under the age of 5 for the first time in history. Researchers anticipate the 65+ population to continue to grow, surpassing a larger percentage of youth — those under 15 years of age — by 2075.
This shift raises concerns about caring for an increasingly large population of elderly people: our parents, relatives, and other loved ones who want to live independently in their own homes for as long as possible.
Fortunately, new advances like smart home technology support the idea of the elderly "aging in place." In particular, smart home security and monitoring systems can help adult children more easily care for elderly parents — whether they live down the street or across the country.
Read on for four ways that smart home technology can help you care for elderly loved ones in your life.
1: Monitor your elderly parent's home for potential security threats.
A smart home monitoring and security system can help you keep an eye on your elderly parent's home — even when you're miles away.
Smart home systems like Hedge send users push notifications when the in-home devices detect something out of the ordinary. When you add yourself as a user to your parent's Hedge account, for example, you'll receive a notification if Hedge's SmartCam detects noise or movement in the home when you know your parent isn't there.
2: Keep an eye on your elderly parent's activity in an unobtrusive way.
Caring for an elderly parent can be worrisome — especially if they live with health issues. Smart home technology, however, can help you keep an eye on your parent's day-to-day activities... without stepping on their toes.
Hedge motion sensors — part of the Hedge’s Smart Motion Kit — can help you better understand your elderly parent's daily habits — when they wake up, have lunch, go for their afternoon walk, and settle in for the evening. This insight can bring you greater peace of mind and help you identify activity that seems "off" and may indicate a potential issue.
Motion sensors can also be used to make sure your elderly parent is following their health regimen. Place them near your parent's medicine cabinet (motion would indicate your parent is taking their medication) or near their refrigerator to make sure they're eating throughout the day.
We of course recommend getting your parent's approval before you set up any smart devices in their home. The intent is not to intrude — but to protect their independence and quality of life.
3: Receive push notifications if your parent's smoke or carbon monoxide detector goes off.
One very real concern of many people with elderly parents is what their parents would do in the event of an emergency, like a house fire.
Adult children concerned about their elderly parent's response to their smoke alarm or carbon monoxide detector sounding can add themselves as a user to their parent's Hedge account. That way, they'll receive a push notification if an alarm sounds within range of Hedge's SmartCam.
They can then use the SmartCam's two-way audio to make sure their parents are ok, before contacting the authorities for help if necessary.
4: Help prevent potential infrastructure issues, like water damage.
Some smart home systems come with devices that can monitor for infrastructure issues that, if left unattended, could necessitate expensive repairs.
Hedge’s Leak Sensors, for example, detects and alerts users to water levels reaching .5mm, as well as severe changes in humidity or temperature that could indicate a potential issue.
As a user on your parent’s Hedge account, you’ll receive a push notification as soon as the Leak Sensors are triggered, so that you can step in to take quick action.
A final benefit of smart home technology? Installing it in your elderly parent's home might help them save money on their homeowners insurance. Some insurance companies — American Family Insurance for one — offer discounts to policyholders who take proactive measures to protect their homes, which includes installing Hedge.
All in all, caring for an elderly parent can be difficult — especially if you don't live right around the corner. Fortunately, advances like smart home technology make it a little bit easier, helping you keep an eye on your parent while affording them a greater level of autonomy. If you're interested in setting up Hedge for your elderly parent (or just in your own home), click here to get started.