Ideas for Parent's HA Setup - Ensure ease of use

I’m going to be setting up an HA instance for my parents next week. They want a security system that is completely local with the ability to expand and integrate a future camera system.

I’ve been running my own HA and security on HA for almost a year now, and now my parents want something similar. What suggestions do you have that I should provide them to make their experience simple.

My ideas so far for Software

  • Scheduler Component and Scheduler card to allow them to schedule things themselves
  • Battery Entity Row card from HACS to track Aquara sensors’ batteries
  • Using a smart on/off switch hidden in a cabinet to temporarily disable security for visitors without the HA app (family feeding pets while they’re on vacation, etc)
  • Twillio to call for Security alerts

My ideas so far for hardware

  • Their lights will use Shelly 1 in edge mode so the light switch is the same but ‘smart’

Ideas for automations
I have a plethora of automations I’ve built myself, but what would be useful for older people, or non-techie people?

Here’s their planned setup:

  • RPi 4, 4gb with SSD boot
  • Alexa’s in main areas
  • 3 Ikea zigbee smart plugs
  • 1 Ikea on/off switch
  • Aqara door/window/leak sensors
  • Water valve actuator to turn off house water in case of leak
  • Some Shelly 1’s for a few inside and outside lights

Automated lighting is the big one. Aside from that my parents favorite automation is one that alerts when the mail has arrived (Aqara contact sensor on the mailbox). They’re also fond of all the “reminder” type automations I made for them:

  • Taking medication
  • Reminder to wash hands immediately after arriving home
  • Putting out garbage/recycling (using Garbage Collection custom integration)
  • Door left open too long
  • Window left open when it’s about to rain

I created a couple of basic TV automations for my father. It turns on the TV when he arrives home, it tunes to his favorite shows (like Jeopardy) when they come on, and it turns the TV off at a certain time (since he has a habit of falling asleep with it on). Those are all done with Logitech Harmony.

To be honest, I doubt your parents will care about some of those software things like tracking sensor battery levels. When the time comes, you’ll likely be the one tasked with replacing those batteries anyway :stuck_out_tongue:

@SeanM, how often do they/you update their HA? I update mine within a few days of updates becoming available. Do you do the same for your parents or do you wait a while? What’s your procedure?

Also, how do you handle ‘having’ or managing two instances? Do you have access on your phone with separate apps somehow, just use the website, or something else?