Being really smart about staying at home

A utopian-version of living your best lives at home will soon be available for residents living at Uniting AgeWell independent living villages and home care package clients.

An open day about being smart staying at home was held at Uniting AgeWell’s Yernga Independent Living Village in Melbourne's east recently.

Uniting AgeWell and Deakin University are using one of the vacant units as a living lab for smart technology - and it's pretty exciting, cutting-edge stuff in place, which should remain there for at least a year.

Residents at Yernga were treated to morning tea and an explanation from representatives from Uniting AgeWell and Deakin University of how various gadgets work to make life much easier, safer and happier all round.

(Pictured are Prof Kon Mouzakis Co-director of A212, Applied Artificial Intelligence Institute, Deakin University and in the background Prof Mohamed Abdelrazek, Associate Head of the School of Industry Research, Deakin University).

Uniting AgeWell Research and Innovation Senior Manager Nina Bowes told the residents that their team would adapt and tweak the environment in the two-bedroomed unit to see how best to optimise technology by getting the gadgets to work together to better support older people’s needs and maintain their independence.

And ultimately the aim would be for all the gadgets to complement each other to create a smart house to assist people to live their best lives as they age.

Now that’s going from smart to really smart!

Over the coming months, researchers will test a range of individual elements that may include: voice assistants, such as Google Home or Alexa; security camera to allow you to see who’s at the door; smart plugs that tells you if home appliances are left switched on; a motion detector; voice controlled lights; video calling tablets, calendar integration and more. They’ll also test combinations – to see what works well with what – to come up with the best scenarios.

These scenarios will then be trialled, with clients on home care packages through Uniting AgeWell and those in our independent living villages, invited to volunteer to have their homes turned into smart homes tailored to their individual needs.