7 ways a smart home can help seniors
Thermostats that adjust automatically, speakers that give reminders – these tools and more help make life easy, comfortable, and safe for seniors.

Carol Ginsberg, 79, has been an early adopter of most technologies. She hopped on the tech train early, when in 1982 she set up an electronic library for Bankers Trust.

So it shouldn’t be a surprise that Ginsberg has acquired plenty of devices – from tablets to home speakers and smart locks – all aimed at making life at home easier as she gets older. 

“I have a speaker in every room,” says Ginsberg, who lives alone in New York City. The one in her bedroom plays music to soothe her to sleep at night. “It’s like a security blanket.”

An automated home can make life easier at any age, but Ginsberg and a growing number of seniors have found that smart home technology offers some key perks. Nest thermostats adjust the temperature automatically, and the Nest Doorbell lets you see who’s at the door without getting up. Nest Protect calmly speaks to you in case of fire (and is controlled remotely), while other devices make it easy to create reminders to stay on task, jump on a video call to connect with family, or be entertained at home.

Below are seven ways seniors are making use of smart home devices to stay safe, secure, and social at home. Getting started can be pretty simple, as many devices give voice instructions to guide setup. And many of them can be managed through the Google Home app on your phone.  

1Get help remembering tasks.

Nest Hub Max, Nest Audio, and Nest Mini will all give you prompts to set up reminders that sync with your Google calendar. Ginsberg programmed her speaker to tell her to take her medications each night. She’s even taken to bringing a small speaker when she goes on vacation to help her keep track.

2Forget about rushing to the door.

In Colorado, Kay Bartecchi, 79, uses her doorbell camera to see who’s coming and going, by viewing the camera through the Google Home app on her phone. It’s particularly useful when she’s tending to her garden.

3Place a call hands-free.

Eileen Crowley, a 94-year-old New Yorker with impaired eyesight, says her new smart speaker is a game changer for keeping in touch with family. Rather than punching numbers into her phone, she asks her smart speaker to make or receive a call for her.1 Crowley, who lives alone, says she also uses it to get information about health topics. “I even tell it goodnight each night,” she says.

4Dictate lists – and take them with you.

Rather than simply jotting down shopping lists on a piece of paper (and potentially misplacing it on your way to the store), tell your Nest Audio which items to add to the list. Then, find that list in the Google Home app when you’re at the store. You can share your lists with other people, cross off what you don’t need anymore, and even ask Google to remind you what’s on your shopping list.

Nest Hub Max
Help for your home. All in one display.
5Turn on the lights without getting up.

No need to clap. Simple spoken commands to Google Assistant can turn the lights on or off for connected smart light bulbs, or calibrate them to brighten or dim gradually.

6Keep the temperature just right.

Nest thermostats can be set to certain schedules, and will even learn what temperatures work best for you. These capabilities save energy and money, and also mean you won’t have to change the temperature manually.

7Avoid climbing ladders when a smoke alarm runs out of batteries.

Nest Protect smoke alarms detect both smoke and carbon monoxide. And you can turn off alarms through the Google Home app on your phone, which also pinpoints which alarms are going off. These smoke and CO alarms even light up when you walk beneath them, providing an extra “night light” to hallways and rooms.

1. Duo calls require setup. Non-Duo calling can make outbound calls to most numbers in the US and Canada. Emergency calling is not supported.

Takeaways
A growing number of seniors are finding smart devices help make life easierThey can handle all kinds of household tasks remotely through the Google Home appSee who’s at the door without getting up or have your speaker remind you about appointments
Nest Hub Max
Help for your home. All in one display.
Related products
Nest Protect smoke and CO alarm
Nest Mini
Nest Audio
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