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A “Smarter” Home Can Help You Stay Independent Longer—Here’s How

Nearly everything in your home can now be connected to the internet and controlled with a mobile device. But wading through the plethora of options can be an overwhelming jumble. A heated driveway? A personal assistant? Auto-dimming lights? Smart-home tech isn’t all flash and entertainment, though—there are myriad ways that the Internet of Things can help keep aging populations safe, sound and independent. Here are a few gadgets that provide tech-savvy solutions to aging.

Ring Video Doorbell

Excessive as video doorbells may have seemed at their inception, they’re fast becoming an integral layer of security as we live longer and, increasingly, on our own. One recent survey found that nearly half of women over the age of 75 lived alone, while about a quarter of men did. The Ring Video Doorbell allows you to see, hear and talk with someone at your locked front door from your smartphone or tablet. $100

Security System

Home security systems have come a long way, and they’re no longer just for intruders. Some systems incorporate  smoke, heat and carbon monoxide detection, or can alert you on your smartphone if there are concerns near water heaters or other sources of water. Some systems automatically contact emergency services if there is an issue. They provide invaluable safety and peace of mind to residents. Various installation prices and monthly fees

Stove Guard CookStop

Who among us hasn’t walked out of the kitchen and forgotten that the stove was still on? It’s a common problem, but it’s a central consideration when you’re trying to determine if you’re OK to continue living on your own. The Stove Guard CookStop will turn the stove off when it’s left unattended for a predetermined amount of time. And it can be installed without having to modify the stove itself.  $515–$650

Sensi Smart Thermostat

It’s as easy to forget about setting the thermostat before you leave as it is to be too attuned to the temperature while you’re home. The digital Sensi Smart Thermostat remedies both issues. It connects to smart home assistants, like the Echo, which means you don’t even need to leave the sofa if you’re feeling a bit cold. You can adjust the temperature by voice command. You can also control it through a free mobile app from a smartphone or tablet. $130

Amazon Echo

If the mere mention of the word technology intimidates you, the Echo and similar smart home assistants epitomize just how straightforward the latest generation of devices is. It’ll play a pitch-perfect soundtrack for your dinner party or recite a recipe from your favorite cookbook while you prepare the meal, all by a simple voice command. More importantly, it’ll also place a phone call should you ever find yourself in trouble and alone. Various sizes and prices

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