Carehome 2.0: A guide to IoT in the assisted living sector
Internet of Things (IoT) technology is everywhere, but most prominently, it’s in the home. The smart home market is on the rise in the UK, with 47% of UK homeowners considering investing in smart home technology. Rapidly growing and in high demand, smart tech is becoming a common part our everyday lives. One of the most interesting uses of IoT is how it can empower and give back independence to those who require assistance in daily living.
The assisted living market is estimated to be worth £10.1 billion. Currently, the elderly population is becoming much larger within the UK, meaning that care facilities and at home carers will soon see their resources stretched if the industry doesn’t adapt. Implementation of smart home technology is able to address this need by bringing a more personalised method of care and reducing the amount of resources needing to be allocated to each individual needing extra care.
There are many benefits to using smart home products in this way, carers can have peace of mind, and users are able to feel safe in their home. Most importantly, smart home technology can empower the user, and even facilitate the rehabilitation of individuals who may benefit from auditory or visual prompts, deepening a sense of independence.
The appeal of smart home technology in assisted living is simple: elderly citisens, people with disabilities and other persons who are less able to live alone can be empowered. Rather than crossing a dark room to flip a switch, IoT can be set up to trigger lights once there is motion detected in the space. Rather than fiddling with various different controllers for heating and cooling, a centralised app on a smartphone or tablet can control the entire house at once. If a person suffers from Alzheimer’s or dementia, alerts can even be sent to a phone if a window is left open overnight. In this way, people are given back the ability to do simple tasks that may have become unmanageable before.
Further, smart home technology is able to provide 24-hour non-invasive home monitoring, allowing the families of those needing assistance to be alerted if there is something amiss. For instance, if lights in the kitchen haven’t been triggered in over a day, a family member or carer can be notified to check the house in person. This is especially useful in our increasingly globalised world – if you are in another country for work, you can still have peace of mind knowing that your family is safe at home.
A connected home does not require a complete home refurbishment project and it does not need to cost tens of thousands of pounds. With new retrofittable and affordable solutions now on the market, smart home technology has become more accessible and within reach of average consumers.
IoT can provide a home that is constantly monitored for safety without being invasive. Additionally, it can give back a sense of independence to those in need of assistance. Smart homes can be the ideal solution for individuals with different needs and abilities so it’s no wonder this technology sector is growing exponentially.
The author is Daniel Knight, technical director, Fibaro UK