It has always been extremely difficult for the elderly and disabled to live on their own as they often require some sort of assistance to take adequate care of themselves. Smart Home technology and connected appliances are making it much easier for these groups of people to be much more independent. Being able to control devices with voice commands or with a smart phone allows for easy access for those who have difficulty moving around.
Implementing smart technology within the homes of the elderly and disabled will enable them to be able to perform tasks that would ordinarily be difficult. Having smart lights or fans will enable people in wheelchairs, who can’t reach the light switch or have difficulty navigating their home, to have remote control over their devices. If an elderly woman has difficulty moving, she can use a smart thermostat to adjust the temperature from a mobile device. In the cases where mobility is an issue, another great tool could be a smart lock/doorbell. This would allow for individuals to see who is at their door and unlock it within a matter of seconds, without ever having to get up and check the door.
There is a clear potential to transform the lives of those who would ordinarily struggle to live on their own. Even though this technology provides people with easy and accessible control over their homes, it is often too expensive for the elderly and disabled to afford. In an article focused on the benefits of smart homes for the disabled, author Shalene Gupta writes, “Most companies that make smart home products don’t specifically market them to people with disabilities” (Fortune). This is a very important piece of information because the price and uses of this innovate technology are typically not targeted to this audience.
Imagine what would happen if smart home technology was actually created with the elderly and disabled in mind. This technology is already having a profound impact within that community, and it isn’t even designed to be optimized for that demographic. Some companies have begun to develop this technology with this target audience in mind, which will give people so much more control of their homes via remote/voice control. There is already a large assortment of smart devices and appliances available such as lights, thermostats, security systems, washers/dryers, coffee makers, and many more. With appliance automation (as seen in Apple HomeKit), users won’t even have to do anything or be responsible for remembering to do something. The disabled and elderly will be provided with more freedom and independence thanks to the power of the Internet of Things.