The average American home would not officially be defined as accessible, says freelance technology writer, Karoline Gore. Statistics collated by the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation, Freddie Mac, associate the high level of pre-1980 housing in the US with a lack of accessibility, and attempts are lacking to retrofit properties to contribute to a disability-inclusive housing market, says freelance technology writer, Karoline Gore.
For many homeowners, the mobility challenge falls on their own shoulders, and even with subsidies these adaptations can be expensive. One way to challenge this is through the Internet of Things (IoT), which is providing the deft tools required to help make certain aspects of daily life more agreeable.
Enjoying the garden
Green spaces are a major factor in good levels of mental health and symptom management. Florida Day outlines how gardens benefit psychological health, cognitive ability, physical wellbeing and overall wellness. Unfortunately, many gardens are also inaccessible. Landscaping gardens in an accessible fashion, where surfaces are level and include the regular use of ramps and rails, is an essential first step.
IoT steps in to help people with accessibility needs navigate their green spaces and contribute safely. Raspberry Pi can be used to construct automatic watering and nutrient sensor systems, making it easier for people without fine motor skills to get involved with tending for plants. The IoT can also be used to activate and control lights, ensuring that outdoors areas remain well-lit and safe and that family and loved ones are aware of the whereabouts of vulnerable individuals.
Providing a shield
This particular IoT power, centered around locational data, is an important tool for families. People with accessibility requirements desire, above all, independence. Frontiers in Psychology highlight that the various forms of independence contribute significantly to self-esteem, confidence, and, ultimately, overall wellbeing. Through the IoT, greater levels of independence can be provided through the medium of safety measures. Alarm systems, medical monitors, and quick communication tools provide the level of security that people with accessibility needs require to freely move throughout their home without fear of injury.
Independence is one thing what about the comfort and security that individuals need within their own home? Many of the modern tech wonders controlled lighting, heating systems, personal assistants and so on are not necessarily built for accessibility. This is, however, changing. According to IBM, new generations of sophisticated robotic advisers and assistants are generating accessible solutions for housing at a level that is far more accessible for people living with disability. Rather than being expected to use the same devices and tools that people without accessibility concerns sometimes even find archaic, platforms and devices are being built with disability in mind. As a result, the comforts and advantages of the modern smart home are there to be exploited.
For people living with disabilities, this is good news. Their homes should be just as welcoming and independence-generating as any other and the IoT can make it happen. Every corner of the home can benefit from IoT integration, and it will create homes that are fit for life and support aging in place.
The author is freelance technology writer, Karoline Gore.