Comfort is something that individuals with memory issues may just forget so we can implement a few things to make sure that they are comfortable in their homes. No rocket science, just some simple and enjoyable stuff.
- Smart thermostats set to manage based on ambient temperature, schedules, seasons and presence
- Humidity sensors to notify if an area is too dry and start the humidifier
- Sleep detection to close lights with smart dimmers. The Google Nest Hub has sleep detection built-in as an example. My wife wishes for snoring detection sometimes.
- Open and close window dressings like shades or blinds based on time of day as being blinded by sunlight is no fun
- Smart speaker notifications based on schedules, like bedtime, meal time or their favorite TV shows
- Light up areas of the home based on schedules and motion, so if they get up at night you can set the lights at 25% to make sure they’re ok and close them after 10 minutes of not detecting motion. Again, if they are confused by such automatic contraptions, alter or remove the automations.
- Anything you can think of that makes sense really
As usual, think about being non-intrusive to not disrupt what your family member knows and expects. Surprises are fun at birthdays, but not at 2AM when someone panics as the lights turned on by themselves. If you want to learn a bit more here is a good place to start.
As part of a quality of life mindset, why not set things up so they jog the memories? By using a smart picture frame, you can do exactly that. Load up the device with memories and set it up as a slideshow or screensaver, and that’s it! A few types of products out there can help you do that:
- Digital picture frames: these as as simple as they get, load up a memory card with pictures and you’re done. Link to a review of such devices and more.
- Smart hubs for conferencing like the Echo Show or Google Nest products can be used for this purpose (my mom gets regular updates from our dog’s misadventures this way).
- Computer screensavers: yes the old trusty screensaver to the rescue, follow this guide for Windows 10 & 11, and this one for MacOS, flying toasters are so… passé?
- Smart TVs: same idea as a smart picture frame, but bigger. How to do this will vary by device and platform, here are a few starting points: