Smart Home For Seniors: A Guide to Making Ah Gong’s Life More Manageable4 min read
3 simple steps to setup your first Smart Home.
As our parents age, they inevitably slow down, and things that they used to do with ease suddenly become harder – like forgetting to turn off the stove or even remembering where they put their keys. More than just an inconvenience, this can pose safety issues especially when the rest of the family has to leave the house and Ah Gong is left alone at home. How then can we make our home safer and easier to live in for our elderly family members? One way is to use Smart Home technology to make everyday life simpler and more manageable for seniors.
Smart Home? Sounds scary leh…
It’s really not! A Smart Home is simply a residence equipped with smart devices (such as lights, speakers, security cameras etc.) that can be controlled through an app on your smartphone. You can also tell them to perform tasks automatically at a scheduled time.
For example, when your parents wake up in the morning, they could issue a simple voice command to a smart speaker to activate a programmed daily routine – like turning on the lights, reminding them to take their medication, and reading the latest important news updates (like the winning 4D and TOTO numbers from the night before).
There are many other things you can do with a Smart Home to make quality of life improvements, like setting up a sensor in the bathroom that turns on the light when motion is detected, so Ah Gong can see clearly when he goes to pee at night. You can also install smart locks on your doors, so your parents will never have to fumble around for keys or worry about losing them!
So, let’s get started shall we? All you need to do is follow these 3 simple steps, and you’ll be on your way to living in a Smart Home in no time at all!
Step 1. Check your WiFi – is it “powderful” enough?
Image via: Unsplash
The first thing you should do is check if your WiFi network is strong enough to support your smart devices. Connect to your home WiFi network and go to speedtest.net from any browser. Start the test and after a few seconds, you should see the results on screen.
Typically, each smart device in your home will use up around 0.5 Mbps (megabits per second), so make sure you have enough bandwidth to support all of them.
Step 2. Choose a Smart Assistant
Smart Assistants are the software that helps you control all your smart devices. For the Singaporean market, I generally recommend going with Google Assistant for its compatibility with a wide range of devices. Google’s voice commands are also one of the most intuitive and easiest to use.
If you own a lot of Apple products, you may want to consider buying into their HomeKit ecosystem to power your Smart Home, though supported devices are limited for now. Other alternatives are Xiaomi’s Mi Home and Samsung’s Bixby.
Step 3. Add smart devices
It’s time to start filling your home with devices that make your home truly Smart! The best one to start with are smart lights, which you can control to turn on/off, and even change colours to set ambient moods, for instance to enhance your movie watching experience.
Smart speakers like Google’s Nest Audio and Apple’s Homepod are not only fantastic for listening to music, but can also receive voice commands to control your Smart Home. And if you have a supported Smart TV, you can also tell it to play your favourite content without lifting a finger!
In the area of Home Security, there is a variety of cameras you can install to keep an eye on your loved ones at home, especially the young and elderly. Video doorbells also allow you to see who’s at the door, and even let you talk to visitors.
If you have existing conventional devices, you can make them ‘smart’ by plugging them into smart plugs, which fit into any regular power outlet. These will allow you to control them with your Smart Assistant too – for example, you can set your old coffee maker to turn on in the morning, so you can wake up to a freshly made cup of kopi-o!
Image via: Unsplash
Ta-dah! Your Smart Home is ready to go
And there you have it! Your simple Smart Home is now up and running. With technology becoming more accessible nowadays, setting up most devices is really chicken feed. Most of the time, all you need to do is install an app and enter your WiFi password. Don’t be afraid to experiment, see what works for you, and most importantly, just have fun lah!
Alternatively, for those of us who are not keen on getting hands on with tech, there are companies who provide smart home consultation and installation, completely fuss-free. A quick Google search will lead you to vendors like M1, HAP and Fibaro. A word of caution, do your due diligence before committing to any Smart Home project – don’t say I never tell you hor. So go forth on your Smart Home journey and enjoy making life more convenient for you and your family!
The eldest of the Tng family. Smart, buff, responsible, and very single. Bobby works in IT in the civil service and is a loyal son, brother and friend. Like his father, he is always brewing with ideas and his greatest wish is to be an entrepreneur one day.