My mom is older (over 70) and lives alone about half an hour away. She recently had a break in a couple streets away which is making her very nervous. We talked about it and she’s not interested in a professional alarm system or monitoring (worries she or guests will set off alarm all the time), but would like to automate some lighting to make her home less appealing to break into.
For her age I think she’s quite technologically literate, but clearly hasn’t lived a life steeped in techville. Thus I’m looking for something that is set it and forget it and very stable, which leads me away from ST unfortunately. I would also like to mostly be able to program it remotely after installation in case adjustments are needed. We live in the US and I’ve never looked at her wiring, but her house was built in the 50s so I assume no neutral. My parents have had their kitchen redone as well as a pretty major updating of several rooms so I might be pleasantly surprised, but not counting on it.
My goal is to have several lights automated that will turn on and off in a somewhat random pattern, both when she is away and home (like the vacation app in ST). Just don’t want them to turn off when she’s in the room if I can avoid it. A secondary goal would be to have the option to build on the platform for more advanced uses (like turn on lights as you move through the house), but that is a secondary goal. She has Alexa and uses it often and I’m sure she could handle telling Alexa when she comes and goes and goes to bed, so I was hoping to use that as a criteria somehow. I’m also open to motion sensors, but again, don’t want her having to fiddle with adding/removing them when they flake out. She is game to buy some plugin lights solely for this purpose but I had also hoped that we could swap out some of her in wall switches because I don’t think she will be keen in telling Alexa to turn the lights on and off all the time and not have access to an actual switch. Ideally I’d rather do all in wall switches. One other notable factor is most of her lights are LED or CFL but some of her lights are fluorescent tubes. Really big ones, like garage size.
What do people have for suggestions on some good ways to accomplish this? My first thought was to use plug in switches and have her control them through Alexa and what ever routine type option it has, but I don’t think there are in wall switches I could use when plug in doesn’t make sense. it is cheap and easy though and something she is comfortable with. Also now that I say it, I forgot the echo plus is a hub and maybe even has motion detectors available? My next thought has been to look at Lutron Caseta because it can work without a neutral, but from what I have read, I can’t tell if they will work with the fluorescent lights. Also don’t know what they might have for motion detectors. Another easy option would just be to get some independent timers and plug in lights. Open to feedback from anyone, but would be especially interested to hear from @JDRoberts as I know he prizes system stability.