Tech Tips for Living in a Multi-Generational Home
Life is better when it’s shared with others. No one knows that better than today’s families that live in multi-generational households. Although these homes may feel more crowded to some, those living with large families of all ages know the special bonds and experiences that come from living life together.
As great as these households can be, we all know that they come with a unique set of challenges as well. When so many people live so close together, it can be hard to keep things the way you like them or even keep your home efficient with so many users of your home’s amenities. The good news is that it only takes a few strategic “smart home” technology upgrades to make your home a better place to live for everyone under the roof.
Smart Lights, Different Settings
When it comes to personal preferences in the home, few things are as divisive as the lighting in a room. Thankfully, today’s smart lighting systems are here to help.Whether you enjoy the ceiling lights at full illumination or just a few dim lamps scattered throughout the room, smart bulbs and lighting systems make it easy to accommodate the preferences of everyone in your family. Rather than the fixed, power-hungry light sources of traditional bulbs, smart bulbs feature incredibly efficient LED light sources that easily outperform their incandescent counterparts, while providing a whole host of other smart features as well. You can tailor these lights to the people who use them, all remotely and via a mobile app:
Change the white balance to help your grandfather read better.
Set the lights to change to festive colors for your upcoming adults-only holiday party.
Schedule a nighttime mode to help the kids get to sleep.
Just a few simple bulbs can provide a wide range of lighting choices for every member of the family. These lighting systems get even better when you combine them with a smart home hub from the hardware store or your internet service provider. Pairing your smart lights with a hub and its companion mobile app will give you full control over your lights from the couch (or even from work), and special wall switches can toggle through the customized lighting modes at the touch of a button. Every member of the family can have a lighting preset that matches their needs.
Security Systems for Everyone
Today’s smart home security services don’t require much (if any) new wiring, and they typically work in conjunction with a companion mobile app. Not only is this convenient (security notifications on the go can be a lifesaver), but it makes managing your security system significantly easier for everyone in the home.
While many older, traditional home security systems go unused because of clunky wall panels and limited features, the cameras and sensors in today’s systems can be automatically activated when you leave, and deactivated by the presence of a connected smartphone or even a small keychain fob. Here’s how they can work across generations in your home:
Pair the security system with smart locks, giving the kids a special code to enter. Never wonder when they’re making it home safely off the bus, because you can also receive a real-time text alert that they’re home. You also don’t have to worry about accidentally setting off an alarm that may startle them, either. Everything can be automated and controlled via an app, reducing the risk of false alarms.
When you’re away on business travel, monitor the delivery of packages and activity in the yard from your hotel room. Get text alerts when motion sensors on your security camera are activated so you can see, instantly, what just happened at home.
For the older generation in your home, there’s no need to fumble with tricky keypads or remember to deactivate the alarm when they come home. It can all be done automatically, simply by having them carry their smart phone with them.
The last upgrade to consider is probably the most fun. Family members of all ages love music, but as everyone knows, each generation has their own tastes and favorites. Smart speakers can help families share the classics when they’re together, and provide a musical oasis when you need some time to yourself.
Whether you choose a dedicated speaker system or even a speaker with a voice assistant, most allow streaming directly from your phone, and many feature whole-home syncing that can play the same tunes in every room or break up your music into zones. These systems will make your living room the life of the party at the next family get-together, give teens a safe place for their personal playlist as they knock out a school project, or allow the grandparents to listen to their favorite podcasts in their own room.
Life Is Better Together
As you plan how to arrange (or rearrange) your living space to accommodate your family of all ages, consider how some of the products can bring your family closer together and make every space feel more personal at the same time. Many of these systems can be integrated through one smart home hub, easily set up by your internet service provider. A few smart upgrades can lead to a harmonious home.
Eric Murrell is a software developer and technology contributor to XFINITY Home. He enjoys sharing tips on how people can benefit from incorporating smart home automation and security in their homes on his blog At Home in the Future.