SSM.Autumn 2021 Star

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 39 of 59

38 ROAD TO RESPONSIBILITY: The Rolland "Smart Home" in Norwell By Erica Ford A year ago at this time, Road to Responsibility ("RTR") was hard at work, creating the first technologically "smart home" that would make lives better for its residents. RTR is thrilled that the endeavor has been a success: the technologies put in place at the Rolland Home in Norwell— one of RTR's 49 residential homes—have provided its residents with support, convenience and, most of all, independence. RTR is one of the region's largest and most successful nonprofit organizations that supports individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD). It provides homes, jobs, therapeutic day supports and a community for over 1,300 individuals from more than 100 different cities and towns in Massachusetts. Innumerable families depend on these employees to provide care, therapy and housing to their loved ones. RTR's residential services provide community homes and apartments with specialized care and 24-hour staffing support. Smart technology has been changing the way we live with its adaptable data that boost efficiency, productivity and functionality. What better use of assistive technology than to improve the lives of those who need help with the everyday tasks we often take for granted? RTR's CEO, Christopher White, E.d., says, "RTR is committed to supporting people in the most effective manner possible to encourage independence and empowerment. In 2021, that often involves technology, which is why we are making such a significant investment in the area of assistive technology." RTR's smart home committee researched the best assistive technology and considered what would best aid the individuals it serves. Thanks to funding from the Pilgrim Bank Foundation, the Doug Flutie, Jr. Foundation for Autism, Inc. and HarborOne Bank, RTR's vision became reality. Talking to Alexa is the norm for many of us now, but RTR's nonverbal residents do not have the capacity to say commands to an AI device. So, RTR provided an Alexa outfitted with smart buttons that enable individuals to request what they need without having to speak. Alexa even customizes morning and evening routines: in the morning, lights slowly come up, blinds open, and favorite songs or sports reports play. As sundown comes, Alexa gradually adjusts the lights and closes the blinds. These calming effects are a huge advantage to individuals who struggle with transitions or need extra help easing in and out of a day. Mattress pads outfitted with sensors track the individuals' sleep cycles, eliminating the need for employees to manually record that data throughout the night. RTR hosted a small open house in June to share their success, and the visitors were overwhelmed by the innovative and incredibly advanced tech. The Norwell home is outfitted with a braille microwave, smart TVs and smart trash barrels that open with the wave of a hand. Fitness mirrors lead exercise routines and allow the residents to see themselves while following the moves on the "screen." It is perfect for all of the individuals, especially

Articles in this issue

view archives of SouthShoreMagazine - SSM.Autumn 2021 Star