Creating a Smart Network to Help Dad to Manage Parkinson’s
Over the past few years, I’ve been gifting my dad different smart devices that he can use to help simplify or eliminate processes that are becoming more difficult for him to accomplish.
Adding smart devices
Last year, I gave him his first Alexa Dot, which we promptly connected to a bedroom light. This enabled him to use his vocal power to turn the lights on and off rather than having to fumble around in the dark.
I immediately loved the idea of a voice-activated light because it seems safer. But it may also encourage my dad to keep using his voice in a powerful way (since many Parkinson’s patients lose some vocal strength over time).
After Dad told me that he utilizes his new gift every day, I was determined to add on to his experience in 2021. So, we added two more Alexa devices, several light bulbs, and a smart outlet.
Using the phone app
The Alexa Dot devices can work independently (which is how we have them currently set up). But you can also link them to one another in order to create a smart network. So, if you want to make sure that the upstairs light is off while you’re on the lower level, you can use your network to do so.
While I was setting up my dad’s new network, I realized that you can accomplish the same task from his cellphone.
There’s an application in which all of the Alexa devices and the smart devices are located, where you can see whether they’re on or off. And if something looks awry, you can simply click a button on your app in order to switch the device’s status.
What can the device do?
Although the initial installation of the Alexa Dot devices period proved to be challenging, the final product is intuitive and simple for my parents. Today, it’s possible to link Alexa with smart doorbells, microwaves, and coffee makers.
It can also play music and podcasts, provide information to questions that you ask her, remind you to take medications, create a task or grocery list, and you can even use it to translate languages.
Safety and security
But another important factor is that my dad spends a lot of time at home by himself. And he will be able to use these Alexa devices to call a loved one or emergency services if he falls.
It’s even possible to pair Alexa Guard with these smart devices in order to specifically look out for problematic sounds like breaking glass or smoke alarms.
This is a great option because it acts as both a security system for those who are away from home, and it can help to protect those who may need a little bit of extra help at home.
My hope is that as Parkinson’s progresses, we will be able to alleviate some of the stress that’s associated with the loss of ability by allowing technology to take over.
I suspect that these devices will continue to grow in efficiency and effectiveness as future models are developed.
For now, dad will learn how to use the devices that he has in order to simplify his life and support him as he changes.
Have you or a loved one ever tried speech therapy?