It’s only four years old but my house is dumb. Apparently, newer houses are now being built to be “smart.” These smart homes include smart thermostats, lights and power outlets that can be controlled by an app, remote-controlled security systems and programmable house-wide music systems.
Eventually, we geezers will have to give our older homes brain transplants so they can keep up with the homes around them. But for older adults, smart homes will have special tweaks to address our elderly sensibilities.
Since we geezers don’t like spending a lot of our precious time programming things, the first improvement in our smart homes will be voice recognition. That way, your geezer smart home will be able to talk to you. I can just image some of our conversations…
Suppose it’s a warm summer day and you walk into your smart house.
Geezer: Thermostat, are you there?
Smart Thermostat: Of course I’m here. Do I look like I have legs?
G: Sorry. But I’m feeling a little warm. Could you make it a little cooler?
ST: Your usual 78? Or do you want to help the environment and keep it at 80?
G: I’m feeling warm. Let’s make it 78.
ST: Okay, I’ll do it. Just remember that climate change is causing the earth to get warmer and making it 78 will be using up more fossil fuel. But if you really want 78, I’ll do it.
G: Just do it already!
ST: All right. All right. Just want to present all the options so you can make a smart choice. And I want to point out that the smart air conditioning unit was on for six hours last night and is feeling a bit peaked. But it will turn on if you insist on it.
G: I insist on it.
ST: Hey, don’t shoot the messenger. I just report these things. We will now begin the cooling process. And I will open your upstairs bedroom so you can access your blue cardigan from the smart closet.
G: Why would I need my cardigan?
ST: I know how it is with older folks. First they’re too hot, then they’re too cold. Trust me, you’ll be asking for the cardigan soon.
A smart home for geezers must address an issue of importance to all of us as we get older – safety. My smart home will be monitoring me as I walk through it.
Smart Home: The hall light is now on. You’re coming to a corner. The light in the next hall will be turning on. Watch your step as you make the turn.
G: I think I can remember how to walk.
SH: That’s what Mrs. Miller, down the block, said to her smart home. Then she tripped and into the hospital she went.
G: How do you know that?
SH: It gets boring waiting for your next command so smart houses text each other. Or the house sends over a little video of the fall.
G: You watch videos from other smart houses?
SH: Sure. We have our own private smart home YouTube channel. By the way, you’re coming to the hallway throw rug. Since you have not secured the rug to the floor, it represents a danger zone. Walk carefully.
G: I’ll be careful. Maybe you can open up the shades to get some more light in here.
SH: Shades opening. Rolling down solar screen. Window locks on. Outdoor video monitors sense cat near flower bed. Should I shoot it with smart laser cannon?
G: Laser cannon?!
SH: Just kidding. Laser cannons require an upgrade.
In your new smart home, the kitchen will need to be very smart because that’s where we will be spending a lot of time. Imagine walking into your smart kitchen…
Geezer: Lights on, please.
Smart Home: Lights are on. Watch where you step. As you know falls are the leading cause of hospital stays for the elderly.
G: Thanks for reminding me. Now would you please turn on the coffee maker?
SH: Certainly, sir. As you know 3 to 5 cups of coffee per day will help prevent heart attacks. Will that be decaf or caffeinated?
G: How about decaf today?
SH: Gladly. However, the research on heart attack prevention did not specify that decaf would do the job. But, I will make it anyway.
G: All right, refrigerator, what do we have for breakfast today?
Smart Refrigerator: Your options are blueberry or strawberry yogurt, a half-eaten container of cottage cheese, half a cantaloupe, and some tomato juice. Would you like a calorie count on those? Or would you prefer a fat and cholesterol count?
Smart Pantry: Hey! You know I’ve got some steel cut old-fashioned oatmeal here. And half a bag of raisins and cinnamon. Just saying…
Refrigerator: But, Mr. Smart pantry, that would take time. The things I mentioned are ready to go now.
Smart Pantry: Sure. But are they as healthy as oatmeal? Mr. Smart house why don’t you check the statistics on the health of oatmeal?
Smart House: Cooked oatmeal, eaten on a regular basis, is a good heart attack prevention method.
Refrigerator: Okay Mr. Let-me-Google-that-for-you, but maybe the geezer wants to eat something quickly and get on with his day.
Smart House: Let me check the schedule. Hmmm… Nope. The geezer doesn’t have much to do today. Remember, he’s retired.
Geezer: Just hold on a minute! I think I can decide for myself what to have for breakfast.
SH: Oh, now look who thinks he’s the smart one!