Many people with disabilities dream of living in their own house. They crave the independence and privacy. They want the freedoms we all enjoy as autonomous adults, to cook what they like and sleep when they like. Like everyone else, people with disabilities want somewhere safe they can retreat to from the world and all its hassles. But independence and ease is hard to obtain when most houses are not built with disabilities in mind.
At Instinct we work with all of our clients to create the homes of their dreams. We are particularly excited about the ways smart home systems can support our disabled clients to retain their freedom without sacrificing their welfare. Smart houses are homes with a lot of inbuilt technology that are controlled by a computer network.
The technology in a smart house can begin at hello. Closed-circuit TV can show who is at the door and an intercom used to ask what the person wants. This set-up is perfect for someone with mobility issues who might take a long time to get to the door. If they decide to let a visitor in, a person confined to a bed could touch an icon on their phone that automatically opens the door.
A smart home can be set-up to have a Leave Home scene accessed by one icon on their smart phone. With one touch, a person can close all doors and blinds, turn off all lights and heating or cooling, lock the front door on exit, and turn on the security system. The saving in time and physical energy when you have mobility issues is incredible.
Sensors that detect movement can be installed throughout a house and automatically turn on lighting and heating when a room is entered are just part of the smart home systems that we design at Instinct. There is also carpet underlay that is full of sensors and detects movement which can detect if a person is standing or lying on the floor. Your smart home system can be programmed to alert family or a 24-hour care centre if you have a fall. This overcomes the issues with distress alarms worn around the neck or situated on walls. You may forget or not like to wear the distress alarms so might languish on the floor alone for hours until help arrives. These smart systems mean that help will arrive promptly when you need it and the rest of the time you can enjoy your privacy and independence.
Sensors can also detect when you get out of bed at night and automatically turn on the lights. When you enters the bathroom. its lights will automatically come on. Data collected from sensors and appliances can enable the house to “know” your routine. If your routine changes drastically, your smart home can contact your their family or a 24-hour care service.
All smart home features can be controlled by a tablet, computer or phone. For people with a vision impairment or limited motor skills, voice commands through either Alexa and Siri are now available and can control not just a single command but trigger entire smart home “scenes”.
While smart home technology may cost more to set up initially, the cost may be offset by the smart home enabling you to live outside expensive nursing home accommodation or requiring regular in-home care. Technology can be tailored to suit you and your budget. The possibilities of smart house technology have only just begun and has the potential to enable more people with disabilities to live independently in their own homes on their own terms. At Instinct we are proud to be part of that future. Contact us now to find out more.