Ask Joan: What’s the advantages to a ‘smart’ home | Lifestyle

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Q. My 70-year-old neighbor recently sold her home because she wanted to move into a smaller apartment in town. When I went to visit her, she gave me a tour and seemed so happy in her new space. She described her place as a “smart home.” What exactly does that mean and why is it important?

A. Congratulations to your friend on her new home! It’s not unusual for many people to want to downsize as they age and finding a new place to live can be difficult. I’m glad she found something that meets her needs.

A smart home is a house, condo or apartment that is equipped with a variety of different technology, all designed to help with security, comfort or convenience. It’s typically run through internet access and can be operated whether or not you are in the home. Examples of smart home technology include:

· Thermostats, which allow you to schedule and remotely control your home temperatures. Some people report that they conserve energy and save money by adjusting temperatures when they are away.

· Lighting systems, which can automatically illuminate dark hallways or walkways when they sense someone is coming. This can be especially helpful for people who are concerned about falling.

· Household appliances, including washers, dryers, ovens, and televisions. There are even some smart refrigerators that can make shopping lists when you are running low on items or can find recipes based on food you have on hand.

Another example of smart technology involves security cameras and systems, which allow you to monitor your home when you are way, or to check who is at your front door before you answer it. These devices let you see and talk to anyone coming to your door.

AgeSpan recently partnered with USAging and Amazon to make smart security systems available to our consumers. Starting this summer, older adults who receive AgeSpan services in the Merrimack Valley and North Shore regions can qualify for a Ring Video Doorbell or Stick Up Camera at no cost. Also included is a lifetime subscription to the devices, as well as technical assistance from AgeSpan in learning how to use the systems.

To learn whether you qualify for the Ring program, please contact our program manager, Molly Gerbutavich at 978-651-3033.

Are you caring for an older adult or need help finding healthy aging resources? Our experienced staff is available to help. Visit us online at www.agespan.org. You can also call 800-892-0890 or email [email protected].

Joan Hatem-Roy is the chief executive officer of AgeSpan, which serves Andover, Boxford, Groveland, Haverhill, Lawrence, Methuen and North Andover.

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