Smart technology can help elderly people be safer and more independent

Unfortunately, getting older for many people means losing some or more of their independence – when it comes to things such as performing everyday errands and simple tasks. This can be due to various age-related illnesses, worsened physical or mental health, weakened muscles and cognitive abilities and lack of energy and strength.

There are ways though that the new smart and AI-based technology can help elderly people keep and maintain their independence at least for some of the daily tasks they are faced with.

Georgia Tech has built a special “Aware Home” located in the campus of the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta, as an experiment for creating a safe and comfortable environment for older adults.

The pretty 5,000 sq. foot home at the campus is furnished and equipped with the latest state-of-the-art technology which is meant to make its elderly residents feel safe and independent enough to happily reside it.

Since fires due to unattended cooking are a very serious problem for adult homes, the cooking equipment in the Aware Home is made and fitted to prevent such incidents.

Also, leaving the tap running can cause severe water damage to a home, so this is something which the research team has taken into consideration as well when installing all safety and warning systems in this new smart home for elderly people.

The high tech smart system alerts the residents of the home in case the sensors detect that a stove is left burning or the water is left running in the bathroom or kitchen. These alarms include big colored lights which blink near the stove, as well as a large photo frame by the door which lights up in order to alert the people leaving the house that the stove is on or that the water is running. At the same time, there is a sound alert as well, in case the residents have a problem seeing.

Other problems which often occur in the homes of elderly people according to the tech team include leaving the TV on or getting locked out of the house. This is why similar alert systems are installed as well.

The tendency is that future devices and technology will become smarter and that AI technology will be largely incorporated in our everyday life. This means that the smart devices will be able to get to know the residents of a home, like their preference, their likes, and dislikes, their daily habits and routines, as well as when they usually take their medications.

In fact, technology will become personalized to a point where we will all rely on it for simple to complex tasks.

In the Aware Home, a special gait-sensing technology is installed so anybody who passes the hallway where it is located will get automatically screened and analyzed.

The tracking of personal data can be used for tracking of the health of that person. This sort of modern technology can even be programmed to alert a caregiver, such as a child, grandchild or medical professional about a potential health problem of the elderly inhabitant detected by the walking pattern sensor.

Given the fact that the baby boom generation is now aged 65 years or older, it comes to no surprise that there are so many new apps, technologies and devices being developed to meet the needs of this growing number of elderly people who want to lead normal and safer lives and for their children and caregivers who want to know how they are at all times. Some devices include automatic reminding services, sensor alerts for smartphones, automatic dispensers for medication and even robot companions.

Hopefully, technology will be able to ensure that the daily lives of elderly people are happier, safer and much easier in the near future.

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