How Smart Home Tech Is Helping Senior Homeowners Age-In-Place
Baby Boomers grew up in an era of reform, believing they could change the world, and they did. As they age, they are also changing the face of senior living. Many sources report that over the next two decades Baby Boomers will move out of 21 million houses across America. However, new advances in smart home technology are allowing seniors to stay in their homes longer, in a trend known as “aging-in-place.”
Instead of selling the homes they’ve raised families in, seniors are aging-in-place with the aid of smart home technology. This emerging trend is altering the sales timeline for Baby Boomers as well as making their homes more desirable once they hit the market because of the smart technology upgrades they’ve installed.
Smart home technologies provide unique ways for seniors to maintain their independence while offering them and their families peace of mind. This freedom suits Baby Boomers, a generation that can be fiercely independent. Hal Wolf, president and CEO of the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society who’ll be turning 65 in a few years says, Baby Boomers “want to be in a position of knowing we’re doing well and being supported at the level that’s needed. Not every senior needs a nurse following them around.”
Baby Boomers pride themselves on their practicality. They’re aware that as they age having easy access to help in managing chronic conditions will ultimately allow them to live more productive enjoyable lives. “What digital health allows us to do,” Wolf commented, “is remain connected to support mechanisms and do so in an unobtrusive way.”
A 2018 AARP report shows seniors aren’t afraid of technology: more than 90% of adults over 50 have a computer or laptop, while almost three-quarters have a smartphone. The best home technologies for seniors are the ones that make family feel close regardless of geographic distance, enhance the safety of your home, and are simple to use.
Choosing a few smart home upgrades with multiple features will give you the most return on your investment. Smart home hubs that are linked to smart locks and smart lights offer a variety of customizable features that make aging-in-place possible and safe.
- Smart hubs: These devices will serve as the control center for all your smart home upgrades. Amazon Echo products usually rate well in consumer guides. Alexa, which is integrated into Amazon’s products, is completely voice controlled, which also makes it a great choice for seniors, or anyone with limited eyesight and motor coordination.
- Smart locks: Installing smart locks will not only allow you or your caregiver to lock and unlock your doors from both in and outside of the home, but many offer controls to monitor activity and more importantly, inactivity. By using a device that’s connected to the internet, these locks can send out emails or texts alerting select people when someone has entered or left the home.
You can also send codes to caregivers to allow them access, and easily change the code if there’s a change in personnel. Most importantly perhaps, is the ability of some systems to alert a caregiver when a smart lock hasn’t been opened for a few days. This could mean a wellness check is in order.
- Smart lights: Replacing traditional bulbs with smart light bulbs is a quick and fairly inexpensive upgrade that adds convenience and safety to your home. Smart light bulbs communicate through Wi-Fi, with your smart hub and can be programmed to create custom scenes based on the usage of other smart devices. For instance: You can program your hallway lights to turn on every time someone unlocks the front door ensuring a safe, well-lit path without fumbling for a switch.
Smart technology is making aging-in-place a realistic option for many seniors and their families. By adding these devices to your home, not only will your safety and peace of mind increase, but so will the value of your home. Making smart home upgrades in your home is a process that’s different for everyone. Working together with your family to choose the most appropriate devices for you will help ensure you’re supported as you age-happily-in-place.