Smart homes, the game changer for residential care you’ve been waiting for

“Hey Alexa, play my cooking playlist.”

Just by reading this, you know what I am trying to do. You know I am talking to technology, not my friend, Alexa. Phrases like this have pretty recently entered our everyday vocabulary. We’ve become more and more familiar with “smart” technologies in our own homes, from speakers to thermostats.

Sometimes I find myself thinking, ‘well this is great, but I think this technology could be used for more than playing music’. Fortunately, some folks are way ahead of me.

Many people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD) rely on Direct Support Professionals (DSP) for support with activities of daily living, medication, nutrition, and mobility. As the DSP staffing crisis persists and more care is being delivered at home and in the community, providers are now looking to technology to support the delivery of these services. You might be wondering, “What does this have to do with Alexa and your cooking playlist?” Well, smart homes leverage technology solutions like Alexa to provide the services people with I/DD need, while giving them independence they crave. Innovative thinkers at providers and health plans are executing on technology-enabled smart homes.

Smart homes can help address the DSP staffing crisis. As Brian Hart, COO at LADD, put it, “Even if the state magically had a billion dollars a year more to fund I/DD services, we won’t magically have 80,000 more DSPs to come in and provide the services.”

What is a smart home?

A smart home operates on the idea that everyday items like thermostats, fridges, and alarms can incorporate technology to become almost autonomous. For example, a thermostat can adjust itself based on the temperature outside. A fridge that notifies