Cypress Village embraces smart home technology


When resident Bess Turk first moved into her home in Cypress Village, her life suddenly changed.

Several years prior, Turk began losing her sight due to macular degeneration. It was a difficult adjustment to make, causing Turk to miss appointments and forget her daily activities. But the scalable smart technology Cypress Village provides for seniors has made it possible for her to work around the effects of the degeneration.

That technology is packaged in Amazon Echo, a voice-controlled smart home system Turk had installed in August of 2016. The system, which answers to the name “Alexa,” gives Turk and other seniors the ability to request reminders and enable changes around their homes, increasing accessibility to tasks that might ordinarily be difficult.

“Now I can listen to music, turn lights on and off, change the thermostat, make a shopping list … and so much more, all with voice commands,” said Turk, who worked with Cypress Village’s iPad instructor Michael Schmitt to design a system for her needs. “It has changed my life. I was missing appointments and forgetting my everyday activities – now, whenever I think of what I need to remember, I simply request Alexa to set my alarm, calendar, shopping list and daily activities. She will read it back to me anytime I ask … all these little treats have made a huge difference in my life.”

Cypress Village’s scalable smart technology is meant to make life easier in more ways than one, according to Director of Marking and Sales Lisa Adams. The technology is available in apartments and houses and can be tailored to each resident’s individual needs. It can also include wellness monitoring, which can observe sleep cycles, medical consumption and dietary changes to give families and caregivers an extra tool for care and peace of mind.

“We are meeting the needs of seniors as the enter into the CCRC market,” Adams said. “These technologies make life easier … and play a role in how seniors can age in place.”

Homeowners Jim and Judy Jandreau worked with Sound Installation and Design, Inc. to develop a voice-activated smart home of their own. The traditional switches and controls are connected to their secure WiFi and can be used for lights, ceiling fans, showers, thermostats and blinds. They’ve also installed a doorbell that allows them to see who is at their front door using their smart phones.

Cypress Village is currently designing a smart model apartment to perform live demonstrations of this technology that will be open to anyone interested in seeing how a smart home can make life more accessible.