The Longevity

Cox Designs Smart Home For Seniors

A new smart home designed by Cox Communications uses technology to address many of the challenges faced by older Americans who wish to age in place.

In the home, built by Shea Homes in a new construction community in Chula Vista, Calif. and being modeled in several locations across the country, every room is equipped with “smart” devices, including the trash can and the silverware. Perfectly situated for aging independent adults, the setting can be checking on remotely by loved ones, and those living in the home can connect in real time with medical professionals, physical therapy programs, and other health care initiatives.

This is the home of the future, Cox asserts, having coined the model the “Connected Independence” senior smart home.

“Smart home technology can help families avoid the wrenching decision and the expense of moving an aging parent to an assisted living facility,” said Ryland Madison, director of product marketing, Cox Communications, in a press release. “A connected home ensures seniors can continue their daily routine while maintaining – and even enhancing – their quality of life in their own home.”

The home boasts an array of smart technology that provides a range of services, including cooking and nutrition assistance, health and vitals monitoring, and communications solutions, to seniors.

A visit to the connected independence home has some of the popular devices that have taken American households by storm: Amazon’s Echo device equipped with its Alexa technology platform for voice-enabled commands and activities; a smart pill dispenser that alerts residents when it’s time to take their medication; and smart motion sensors that can detect activity in and around the house. But the smart devices also extend to every room from the kitchen to the dining room, entertainment center and bedroom.

The kitchen is equipped with a GeniCan, a device that is attached to the trash bin and allows users to scan the barcodes of the packaging they are discarding so the item can automatically be added to the user’s shopping list. It also has a smart slow cooker, a Parrot Pot to water the plants and a Feed and Go Feeder to feed the dog. For those with hearing impairment, there’s a platform to transcribe voicemail. For those with loved ones in other states, the The TP-Link Smart Plug allows seniors or their families to turn devices on and off, check their status, create schedules and set timers for devices in conjunction with Amazon Alexa’s voice-enabled technology.

And for health care needs, individuals can track their vital signs and call a doctor for a telehealth visit, they can complete a remote physical therapy session, or they can speak to a nutritionist live about meal preparation or with questions about portions.

The home promises not only to allow older Americans to remain independent for longer, but also to ease the burden of caretaking and facilitate communication between seniors and loved ones.

Family members, likewise, can “pop in” via a screen attachment for Alexa that brings the family member right into the home.

“Now that we have all these devices connected, with heart monitors [and other monitors], it’s a lifeline,” Madison tells SHN. “It’s staying connected for potential emergency purposes, but as you grow older and your kids move out of the home, it’s staying connected with them as well.”

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