Everyone deserves the comfort and peace of mind that comes with making full use of your own household. For those adjusting to life with limited mobility, finding that comfort again might mean looking for new ways to complete your usual daily tasks, such as opening your blinds in the morning to let the sunshine in or turning up your thermostat on a chilly day. Luckily, “smart” technology and devices are available to automate some of those tasks and make it easier than ever to maintain your independence at home.
Amazon Echo is a smart speaker that can respond to voice commands. You can talk with the Echo’s artificially intelligent assistant Alexa to ask questions, surf the web, play music, and even control your other smart home devices.
The Echo comes in a few different models with varying skill sets. The Echo Show, for example, has the same basic functions as the original Echo but adds the ability to video chat.
Wouldn’t it be nice to wake up on a cold winter day and turn your heat up without leaving the warmth of your bed? Smart thermostats allow you to do just that.
The Ecobee SmartThermostat with voice control is typically suitable for a wide variety of central HVAC systems. Once you have it set up, you can communicate to the thermostat your ideal temperature ranges for when you’re at home, away for the day, or sleeping. Make adjustments using the app, Alexa commands, or manually tweaking the temperature.
Adjusting blinds or curtains on a tall window can sometimes pose a challenge for wheelchair users or those with limited mobility. Smart blinds are user-friendly, offer privacy, and can even help reduce your energy bill by blocking unwanted warmth or cold air sneaking in from the outside.
Yoolax Motorized Blinds and Curtains are custom-made for your window’s exact specifications and come in a range of colors to fit your home’s design. They can be controlled using a smartphone app, your voice through smart devices, or with a remote control. You can even program them to open or close at set times, such as during the sunniest part of the day.
Personal Emergency Response Systems
Personal Emergency Response Systems, or Medical Alert Systems, are devices designed to immediately connect the user with life-saving services at the press of a button. While this is a system you hope you never have to use, it can offer peace of mind to those who live alone or experience long amounts of time between visits from a caregiver.
Products like Medical Guardian can even detect a fall on their own without requiring the user to push a button at all. Their technology automatically sends an emergency response team to the user’s location if a fall is detected. Medical Guardian offers a range of products from the “Mini Guardian” and home systems to mobile and smartwatch options.
Smart locks are a great bridge between security and convenience. These devices let you use your phone to open and close doors, while some even let you assign access to family, friends, or caregivers. Others use geofencing so you never have to wonder if you locked the door behind you when you left, as you can set a perimeter around your home and automatically trigger the lock when you leave the perimeter.
The Schlage Encode is a Wi-Fi enabled smart lock that is easy to install and works with Amazon Alexa, Amazon Key, and Google Assistant. It also comes with built-in alarm technology to sense potential breaches and allows you to manage up to 100 access codes for recurring, temporary, or permanent access.
Video doorbells can detect when someone comes on to your property and notify you via your phone, tablet or computer. You can see, hear, and communicate with visitors from your device, making them ideal for wheelchair users who may not have a door peephole at eye level.
Ring Video Doorbells are especially popular, as they can notify you when anyone presses our doorbell or triggers their built-in motion sensors. Ring doorbells comes in different models including the Video Doorbell 3 Plus, which uses Pre-Roll technology to show you an additional 4 seconds of video before the motion detectors were triggered.
Robotic Vacuum Cleaners
No more pushing around a bulky vacuum cleaner or wrapping up mile-long cords? Count us in! Robotic vacuum cleaners travel along your hardwood floor or carpet to sweep up debris. They can sense obstacles and re-route themselves without falling off the edge of your staircase or getting stuck against a wall. They are also known for being much quieter than a standard vacuum cleaner and are easier to store.
The iRobot Roomba e5 features automatic or spot cleaning modes and is controlled by the iRobot app or a voice assistant. With the app, you can schedule cleaning even if you’re away from home and see a map of the cleaning route after it is finished. As an added bonus, Consumer Reports named the iRobot one of the Best Robotic Vacuums of 2020 for its digital privacy and security.
While these smart devices are merely a convenience for some, for others they could be essential to maintaining independence at home. Accessibility is just as important when you leave the comfort of home for the day, so contact MobilityWorks today to learn how we can help you maintain your independence on the road.
MobilityWorks does not sponsor or endorse any products mentioned in this article.
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