Smart Home Solutions to Support for Persons with Disabilities
Smart home automation, and technology in general, have come a long way. No longer just novelty products, smart home devices have evolved into tools that deliver capabilities that boost convenience. However, for individuals with mobility and accessibility challenges, home automation can give ability to persons with disabilities. A powerful enabler, smart home solutions can be leveraged to enhance the independence of people with disabilities. Supporting a more independent life, a plethora of smart devices and solutions can be integrated into one’s home to empower them and their families to achieve their potential.
According to the Ministry of Social and Family Development (MSF), persons with disabilities (PwDs) are defined as “those whose prospects of securing, retaining places and advancing in education and training institutions, employment and recreation as equal members of the community are substantially reduced as a result of physical, sensory, intellectual and developmental impairments.” – source.
With approximately 2.1% of the student population and 13.3% of the elderly resident population being identified as persons with disabilities in Singapore, the government has launched several initiatives to enhance the support for these individuals. For example, the Enabling Masterplan was launched back in 2007 to build a more inclusive society through early years of intervention in education. But that is not all. Accessibility gaps have also been continually addressed in the built environment. From barrier-free accessibility to the wheelchair lifter pilot scheme, there will continue to be progressive changes in the community. However, when it comes to one’s personal abode, matters have to be taken into our own hands. This is where the benefits of smart home technology come in.
Challenges Faced by Persons with Disabilities
Before we dive into how smart home automation systems can benefit persons with disabilities, we must first understand the challenges faced by them. With impairments that can substantially limit major life activities, the lack of relevant assistive technology and accessible physical environments make it difficult to adapt. Tasks such as turning on lights and opening doors might be mundane to everyday persons but can pose a challenge for persons with disabilities. So how does designing a smart home in Singapore help increase accessibility and make it easier for PwDs to carry out daily activities?
The Benefits of Smart Home Automation Solutions
Smart automation, especially smart care solutions have recently been increasingly utilised to transform elderly care in Singapore. Offering the elderly a sense of ease and comfort in the home environment, smart care solutions can do the same for persons with disabilities. Maintaining independence, and increasing safety and comfort, here are how some smart home gadgets and solutions can meet your accessibility or caregiving needs:
1. Maintaining Independence
Voice assistants can improve the lives of the elderly and the disabled. When all smart home devices are connected to smart assistant speakers, you’ll be able to control everything from one spot. Acting as the main hub, you can control all connected devices with your voice. Pair this with the HomeAuto app, and keeping up with daily activities and household chores is made easy for persons with disabilities. Routines can also be scheduled and automated on the app so families and caregivers never have to fret about individuals being cared for.
2. Increasing Safety and Comfort
When smart care and home automation gadgets like the Smart SOS button, Smart Lock, and Smoke Sensor are included, not only will your home get smarter, but also safer. The SOS button works as an emergency plan, alerting members in the app with a single press of the button. Be it falls, injury, or simply needing a helping hand, this tiny and lightweight device can change lives when carried around the household unit. Smart locks ensure trusted entry and make it easier for persons with disabilities to unlock doors should they have difficulty handling keys. Ensuring fire safety for the visually impaired can be overwhelming. With an alarm sound of more than 85 decibels, the Zigbee Smoke Detector alerts them when there is a possible fire emergency. The use of smart gadgets such as these deliver functionalities that reach far and wide – tapping into their features and manipulating them to work in your favour is always a great way to enhance the safety of your home.
Have queries about HomeAuto and our range of smart care solutions? Contact us at [email protected], and our smart home solutions providers and assistants will offer you more information on the benefits of smart care and how it can help persons with disabilities.