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Smart Home Technology is Changing the Game for People with Disabilities

For people living with disabilities, limited mobility can impact their ability to perform simple tasks around the house. Smart home technology has the power to change that - here’s how.

There’s no denying that smart home technology can benefit people from all walks of life. From busy parents to working students to the self-employed, home automation has proven to enhance the lives of just about anyone looking to make their hectic life a little bit easier. But there is a small demographic that arguably benefits from it most: people with disabilities. 

For those with disabilities that affect memory, such as Alzheimer’s or dementia, smart technology can help them remember to do certain tasks , and smart security systems can help reduce much of the stress associated with keeping themselves safe at home, and it doesn’t stop there.

The rise of smart home technology has not merely improved the lives of people with disabilities who have access to it, but it has given them greater autonomy and freedom, completely transforming their lives and how they navigate their world. 

For people with a physical disability, simple acts that able-bodied people often take for granted, such as adjusting the thermostat, drawing the curtains, turning on a light or opening a door, can be difficult or nearly impossible without assistance. Being able to turn off the light via a smart plug or smart lightbulb with their voice or smartphone puts incredible power in the hands of a person with a physical limitation. For those with disabilities that affect memory, such as Alzheimer’s or dementia, smart technology can help them remember to do certain tasks , and smart security systems can help reduce much of the stress associated with keeping themselves safe at home, and it doesn’t stop there.

Here are a few simple smart home technologies that can transform the lives of individuals with disabilities:

Smart speakers

Google Home and Amazon Echo are currently the leading smart speakers on the market for their ease of use and external capabilities. Entirely voice- controlled, these devices make a great starting point for any smart home. In addition to allowing users to control other smart devices in their home completely hands-free, smart speakers have their own functions that can prove beneficial to those with disabilities, from being able to perform simple internet searches to creating a grocery list.

For those with disabilities that affect memory, such as Alzheimer’s or dementia, smart technology can help them remember to do certain tasks , and smart security systems can help reduce much of the stress associated with keeping themselves safe at home, and it doesn’t stop there.

Smart doorbells

Smart doorbells, which have a motion-sensor camera that connects to an app on the user’s smartphone, allows people with disabilities to see who’s at their door without having to look through an impossibly high peephole or put their safety at risk by opening the door to a stranger. This allows people with disabilities, who already have a higher risk of being the victim of a crime, to feel safer while alone in their home.

Smart thermostats

Thermostats are often placed too high for people with physical disabilities to reach. Smart thermostats make it easy to control the temperature in your home, allowing the user to change it through an app on their smartphone. Some are even equipped with algorithmic learning to further automate the temperature.

Smart light bulbs

For many people with disabilities, turning the lights on or off can be a challenge. Pairing a smart speaker with smart light bulbs allows them to control the lights in their home using only their voice or an app on their smartphone. 

Some smart devices can be programmed to automatically perform a task under certain circumstances. For example, if there is motion detected in a room, the light will automatically turn on.

Smart plugs

Similarly, smart plugs allow people with disabilities to turn on and off anything that is plugged in, from an electric stove to a lamp or the television. This offers greater independence to those who have trouble reaching on/off buttons or wall sockets.

Smart locks

People with disabilities often need to allow caregivers or visitors into their home, but this can be a challenge for those living alone. Smart locks offer them the ability to grant access to people visiting their home through their smartphone, giving them greater security and allowing them to control who can enter their home and when. 

Automation services

Smart home technology goes far beyond simple commands. Some smart devices can be programmed to automatically perform a task under certain circumstances. For example, if there is motion detected in a room, the light will automatically turn on. This limits the need to constantly speak to a smart speaker and can prove especially beneficial to those with speech impairments. While these home automation systems can be pricier than other smart home technology, it may be worth it for those who can afford it.

Throughout recent decades, technology has made it easier than ever before for individuals living with disabilities to lead an independent life. In an even shorter amount of time, smart home technology has completely changed the game for this growing demographic, and it’s exciting to wonder what future innovations in this space can do to further improve the lives of people with disabilities.

Photo courtesy of Cunaplus on Adobe Stock.

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