A key reason why I went on a blitz to make my home smarter, was to reduce the difficulties that my aged parents were frequently confronting. Let’s face it, when we get older, a lot of our faculties degrade: vision, balance, memory etc.
Two challenges that my parents had to deal with on a daily basis were:
- Night blindness- Brought on by weakening vision. This is especially bad when rooms or spaces are dimly lit. The elderly might knock into or trip over furniture, or walk into walls and doors.
- Forgetfulness- Which may cause seniors to forget to close fridge doors, rice cookers, turn off lights and other electrical appliances etc.
Now, admittedly, the first reason was by far the most urgent one. After all, there’s a real risk of injury through knocks or falls. I could have settled on a simple motion-sensing light that would automatically turn on whenever movement is detected. Tucked into a strategic corner, they’d be the perfect solution to prevent mishaps. More importantly, they were cheap and readily available.
But I wanted something that was also scalable. I recognised that Activities-of-Daily-Life (ADL) were only going to get more numerous and complex for the elderly. I needed to be prepared.
I delved into the world of smart devices. Though there was a dizzying array of devices and technologies to choose from, I zeroed in on the Samsung SmartThings Hub. It was a veritable jack-of-all-trades, for being able to integrate different devices, services and communication protocols like Wifi, Bluetooth, Zigbee and the rarer Z-wave.
For some reason, purchasing the hub locally proved to be quite difficult, but not impossible. It isn’t widely available in retail stores, but I finally got mine from AutomateAsia.
I have not looked back since then.
Naturally, after setting up the SmartThings hub, the first things I bought were a compatible smart bulb and a motion sensor. I set up the motion sensor along a hallway that led to the bedrooms, so that when anyone walked past it, a light would turn on to illuminate the space. Banish night blindness!
I know what you are thinking. Guy! You should’ve just bought the cheap motion-sensor light instead! Aaah, but that’s not all the SmartThings system does. Through the hub, the smart bulb’s not just triggered by movement, but also responds to:
- Bedroom doors being opened at night.
- The main door being opened at night.
- Time of the day, when the apartment grows dimmer.
- Voice commands, delivered to a voice assistant like Google Nest Mini.
- Mobile app commands, delivered either from the Samsung SmartThings or Google Home app.
In subsequent posts, I’ll explain how to create neat and clever solutions for your home, as well as sourcing for devices that are not only affordable, but compatible with the SmartThings system. Stay tuned!