The Internet of Things refers to a variety of products that are equipped with interior computers and the ability to network with each other or online systems via wireless (Wi-Fi) connections. Chances are you may already have one of these devices in your home.
Some common Internet of Things devices include:
Older adults who like the sound of many of the conveniences associated with IoT devices may wonder if there are any downsides to worry about in incorporating these items into their homes or lives.
The primary concern with IoT devices is privacy. Because these products connect to the internet, there's always the chance that the data contained in the device might be hacked or shared. However, these concerns should be considered within realistic and calm thought processes. Yes, there's a chance criminals could hack into a smart fridge or fitness watch, for example. But will they? Unless you're using your financial accounts to make purchases via these devices, there's not that much benefit for hackers.
You can also protect your IoT devices and information with strong password protocols. When setting up accounts related to these devices, create passwords that are at least eight characters long and include numbers, letters and special characters like $ or &.
Another concern for older adults is simply how much new technology and information Internet of Things devices might come with. If you aren't used to having parts of your life connected to the internet all the time, this can be overwhelming. To reduce this issue, consider implementing IoT devices into your life in an intentional and slow manner, choosing items you believe will bring a real benefit and getting used to them before you incorporate others.
You may find that the advantages of having Internet of Things products in your home outweigh some of the common issues people have with these devices. The right IoT devices put connections, information and even help a literal word away, which can provide peace of mind for older adults. Whether you live in an assisted living community like the one at Cambridge Court in Kearney, NE, or continue to live in your home, the ability to have a smart device call emergency responders, assisted living staff, your neighbor or anyone else at your verbal word can be lifesaving.
IoT devices can also help you enjoy your lifestyle, regardless of mobility changes and other challenges you might face as part of the natural aging process. The ability to command certain functions in your home with your voice can even reduce the risk of falls. For example, imagine being able to get into bed in a well-lit room and then tell your smart lights to dim or turn off once you're all settled.
There are so many Internet of Things devices out there that it's easy to get caught up in the hype or become overwhelmed by the choices. If you're interested in incorporating this type of technology into your life, consider talking to someone you trust who's familiar with these technologies. Then, start small to see how you like it. One common IoT device older adults start with is a smartwatch or fitness watch. These devices can help you keep track of your mobility and movement, monitor certain vital signs and stay connected with loved ones as you live a vibrant lifestyle.