Making Your Client’s Home Smarter? Here’s How to Do It Right

By Stephanie Yamkovenko posted 07-22-2019 16:35


“Alexa, schedule my OT appointment.” Smart home technology has been around for years, but it is becoming more common in homes around the U.S. Opportunities for your clients abound, so we put together a list of resources to get you up to speed on how to evaluate smart home products, build them into your clients’ existing routines, and help them learn how to use them to their full capacity.

Start Here

A person holds up a smartphone to a smart keyless entry lock on a door.

If this is all new to you, or you never really thought about how you’d use smart home technology in practice, start here with this article about 4 ways OT can make smart homes smarter. The article goes over the basic ways that occupational therapy can help a click use keyless entry, electronic doors, smart toilets, and more.

How Your OT Colleagues Are Already Using Smart Home Tech

Now that your OT wheels are turning, take a look at this OT Practice article that describes how AOTA members have already started using smart home technology with their clients. The article also discusses how OT practitioners should be the gatekeepers of these technologies and can help the industry have a user-centered design approach when it comes to building new smart home tech.

Tech for Your Clients With Disabilities and Older Adults

You might be surprised how many of your clients are already using these smart home technologies, from Amazon Echo to Google Home. This OT Practice article describes how OT practitioners can help their clients with disabilities make better use of the practical and affordable smart home devices they may already own (or could easily acquire). The article also has a checklist of questions that you could ask during a smart home intervention evaluation.

Do you work with older adults? Check out this SIS Quarterly newsletter article about how smart home technology can help people age in place. Read a few case examples and learn about some common challenges.

“You’ll Have a Whole New Life”

This news article by the Duluth News Tribune describes how occupational therapy can help older adults learn to use smart devices. Faculty and students from St. Scholastica work with clients in a community clinic that has a faux apartment equipped with smart home devices. The article focuses on one client who is learning how to use Alexa. After realizing the possibilities of the device, his wife said, “I mean, Nick, you'll have a whole new life.”

Join the Conversation

Your OT colleagues are discussing smart home technology here on AOTA’s CommunOT. Join this conversation here to ask questions and share how you use these devices in your practice.



08-26-2019 17:05

Thank you for the article. I never thought that Smart Home technology can be widely used. However, it can be a really great assistive method for example for people with disabilities.

08-02-2019 08:58

Thank you for this article. Smart Home devices are becoming so common place, easily accessible and affordable that just by knowing their existence, how to use them and how to recommend to others give occupational therapists another huge tool to offer our patients/clients in order to facilitate their independence.  As an occupational therapist that worked with those with spinal cord injuries or other progressive neurological diseases, EAT devices were so important to give someone control and independence with functions of their phone, computer, TV, & overall environment.

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