On Instagram I follow a lot of people who have disabilities in the home and I’m always amazed at the ingenious ways that they find to use technology to help around the house and to help with some of the chores that might be difficult for them.
I want to share a few of my favourite insta-pals and some of the technology they’ve put in their house that are simply great ideas.
All of this technology is not just for those that need help around the house, these whizzy gadgets can be used by everyone. I see a lot of rudeness on social media about some of the gadgets out there and people comment on how lazy someone must be to use them – but actually they forget about people with disabilities who can benefit from them – and laziness has nothing to do with it! They are just brilliant pieces of technology that we can all use.
This is not a sponsored post by the way – I do have one of these gadgets as you will see, but it was purchased at full price and therefore is not an ad.
So with that caveat out of the way let’s get started with the Ring Doorbell. We have one of these at home with Mr WCH working in the garden office now it’s important we don’t miss those parcels or the someone calling at the door. It’s helpful for him to speak to the person at the door and let them know to leave the parcel on the step or that he’ll be a few minutes to get to the door.
This is where it can come in handy for those with mobility issues who take some time to get off the sofa and walk to the door. People who are deaf or have hearing impairments can also benefit from this as they can get a vibrating and visual alert on their phone when the doorbell rings and get a visual cue.
Obviously it’s great for security too for everyone, including the elderly or vulnerable who may want that bit of comfort to see who is at the door. My mother-in-law got one of these before we did and she uses it for safety and security.
There are different colour options for the Ring, white, silver or black. We went for the black and bronze option – it matches the black of the front door and the grab rail.
You do have to remove the batteries to recharge from time to time, and that can be pretty fiddly to do so if you have a visual impairment or issues with your hand you might want to ask for help to unscrew it for charging.
As you can this colourway looks pretty swish and goes with the design outside. We are very pleased with it!
If not’ve not seen the stories on Instagram, Lee, aka Bungalow_Transformation has recently invested in a fantastic door opener from Ultion that can be locked and unlocked from an app or a smart speaker allowing the door to open before you get to it. This is helpful for Lee, who walks on a crutch, to open the door safely, as he currently has to rest the crutch against the wall to unlock the door via a key. He combines this with the Ring Doorbell, so if necessary, he can see who’s there, and can pop the door open using an app on your phone or watch, or via voice command to Alexa (or name your smart speaker!) and the parcel can be placed inside the door by the delivery person without him having to get up off the sofa!
The opener is also extremely useful for carers, as you can set up the door to open via a keypad outside, and you can give the carer a code so they can open the door without having a key. You can set the code up for specific dates and/or times and change the code when you need to from the app, so it’s safe and you can notify the code to only those people who need it for that day or time period. This is safer and more secure than a carer or number of carers having a key or knowing the code to a traditional key-safe.
The other feature very helpful for those with a disability (or for those carrying lots of children or shopping!) is that you can set it to open as you approach the door – such a great idea.
Sandra from Wheely_Love_Living has a great set of smart lighting from Lightwave in the home that can be controlled via an App or a Smart Speaker. It allows you to dim or switch off the lights in any room that you need which is brilliant for those with dexterity issues, who struggle to turn off a lamp would be able to use this technology.
If you wanted coloured lighting, something like Philips Hue – great for sensory reasons, or switching the mood in the room for mental health reasons, you could set all that up in a similar way with the same technology and use voice commands or an App to get the the right vibe in the room.
Smart Speakers are a great idea to help around the home with certain tasks, such as instructions to play music or audiobooks, or put the lights on (if you have a connected system such HomeKit, Google Home or Philips Hue – more on which later…). You can also adjust the heating if you have a Hive or similar heating system. Of course you can also shop via the smart speaker and most importantly, pair it to your phone and call for help if you need it.
Some of these home systems look really great, unobtrusive and portable from room to room. There are a few different options, price points and for the interiors lover – styles to look at.
One of the Amazon Echo options is a very small, unobtrusive speaker that you can pick in different colour and fabric options and at under £25 is a great price for all the support it can give someone with limited mobility. If you have hearing problems there are also (more expensive options) with a small screen. Once connected to your Amazon account you can do all your shopping and get it delivered quickly.
Another great looking smart speaker is the new collaboration between Sonos and the Danish design studio, Hay Design. They’ve created a beautiful speaker at the more expensive end of the spectrum (around the £230 mark) but you can choose from a number of colours and allow it to fit in with your design style. It also connects to Amazon Alexa so gives you wide range of options in the same ways the Echo does. It also looks fantastic! Either make a design statement by letting it stand out, or blend it in with your design style and home colours.
Smart Smoke & Monoxide Alarm
We all know that we all should have smoke and carbon monoxide monitors in our homes, but how does that work if you are deaf or have a hearing impairment and might not be able to hear the alarm? If you have a support animal they can alert you the noise – but now with a a device such as Google Nest Protect you can have alerts on your phone, so you could make it vibrate or make the torch flash if the alarm suspects something.
The Google Nest Protect has a few settings, which are great for those with disabilities. There’s a lighting system, so green means it’s all ok and it self tests so no climbing on a ladder to push the button, or if you’re in a chair, poke a stick at the smoke alarm like Mr WCH. There’s a setting if it knows you’ve overdone the toast, with an orange light, or a red light for a real emergency.
If you have set fire to the toast, normally you have to wave a tea towel at the machine to stop it ringing, but with this you can use the app and switch it off from your phone, or via your smart speaker.
There’s also a handy white light which switches on as you walk under it, so when you pop to the loo overnight you can find your way easily!
I know I’ve missed plenty of other Smart Tech out of this post – such as Heating, Burgular Alarms, CCTV and more – what else would you recommend?
3 thoughts on “My Top 5 Pieces of Smart Technology for the Accessible Home – Part 1”
Hi, I’ve just seen the post on your sofa being too low, I’m not sure how old that post is, but here’s my helpful hint – my hubby builds frames to raise the recliner, couches, bed etc. Hope this is helpful in some way. We also used galvanised pipes for our grab rails so we don’t have that disability rail look. Love what your doing with your home, it’s beautiful
Thanks Leanne! Those are great ideas, particularly the pipes as grab rails. Thanks for sharing !