FRANKFORT, Ky. — The Kentucky Assistive Technology Services (KATS) Network, within the Education and Workforce Development Cabinet, will now loan smart-home technology to help individuals with paralysis become more independent.
Funded through the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation, Kentucky received $75,000 from the High Impact Innovative Assistive Technology (HIIAT) grant for the My New Kentucky Smart Home program to provide smart-home technology kits to Kentuckians with disabilities.
The My New Kentucky Smart Home program will loan smart-home technology starter kits for three months to Kentuckians with paralysis to allow them to begin automating various functions within the home. The KATS Network will provide assistance to help borrowers locate funding sources to purchase their own equipment at the conclusion of the loan.
“This smart home technology will increase and enhance an individual’s ability to live independently and reduce their reliance on caregivers and family members to meet their needs,” said Cora McNabb, executive director of the Kentucky Office of Vocational Rehabilitation.
Smart-home technology starter kits, valued from $1,000 – $1,500 each, include Google Home or Amazon Alexa devices, smart lights and outlets, motion sensors, and carbon monoxide detectors. The kits will be loaned to Kentucky residents at no cost for up to 90 days. Upon completion of the 90 days, kits will be returned to the distribution center to loan to additional users. The program is estimated to serve approximately 65 at a time.
Jason Jones, an employee of the Human Development Institute at the University of Kentucky, will serve as an advisor to the project.
“As an individual with high-level quadriplegia without the use of my arms, smart-home technology has changed my life and my ability to function independently. One of the biggest issues for me has always been the fear associated with being alone. My ability to now almost completely control my environment with my voice has all but eliminated that fear,” Jones said.
“I am now able to open and close doors, control the temperature in my home, control the lights and ceiling fans, perform most functions on my television, and most importantly, have full access to all of my contacts. With every new technology that comes to the mainstream, things get cheaper and easier to access, but more than anything, they contribute to my overall quality of life,” he said.
For more information about the KATS Network, visit http://www.katsnet.org/.