Smart home technology is now being put on the table as a viable option when considering how to care for mom and dad. A well integrated smart home can provide a level of care and comfort that is starting to get a lot of attention. Even agencies like Aging in Place are emerging to embrace the benefits a smart home can have for their elderly clients.
As of the last US Census, about 15.9 percent of the population was 65 or older. The US Department of Health and Human Services projects that percentage will hit about 21.7 percent by 2040. What’s more, some 12 million seniors will need long-term care by 2020. Thanks to smart home technology more seniors will be able to age in the comfort of their own home than ever before.
And now, with voice control, tablets and computers don’t even have to be mastered. Just say it! Amazon’s Alexa has had a tremendous impact on home automation. Reminders can easily be set for the elderly to take their medication, or get ready for an appointment. Alexa even has a new feature allowing selected allowed people to “drop in” with voice and video. That is an extremely helpful feature for those who need to check in on their loved ones regularly.
The bottom line is home automation is changing our lives in big ways. Impacting our choice to safely expand our years ling at home versus staying at nursing home is now a more viable option thanks smart home technology.
Smart home technology ranges from motion detectors that sense movement inside a home—whether it’s a person walking from one room to another, or the presence of fire and smoke—to video doorbells that allow a person to see who is visiting their home. Internet protocol video cameras, similar to nanny cams or baby monitors, allow family members to view the inside of a loved ones’ home remotely. As long as privacy and boundaries are in place and honored, it is a welcomed way to enhance communication between seniors and their loved ones.
Pew Research Center found that 47 percent of seniors have broadband access in their homes. The Brookings Institution in a 2014 study found that 66 percent of seniors used Internet to find health or medical information, and 26 percent used it to access video chat services like FaceTime or Skype.
More than just safety monitoring, a smart home is a home that takes care of you. That is the key necessary element that has thrust smart home technology at the forefront of the conversation these days when we talk about aging. Lighting, temperature control, water leak sensors, cameras and just a few of the many ways a smart home can keep the elderly comfortable at home.
Aging senior citizens face problems of declining strength, failing eyesight, and reduced mobility. For example, each year, about 30% of people aged 65 and over experience a fall, and 10% have multiple falls. In the cases of dementia and Alzheimer’s, seniors face decreasing cognitive and memory problems. Well lit waking areas, safety monitoring and voice control are way that smart home technology is helping.