(courtesy: New Home Source) When smart homes come to mind, most people may think of tech-savvy millennials with smartphones and devices synced up to everything in their home. But seniors and aging Americans can benefit tremendously from user-friendly smart home technology, too.
Health-monitoring systems, automated lighting and temperature controls, and voice commands to help with daily tasks are just some of the smart home features that can help seniors age in place.
Aging in place is a person’s ability to live in their home and on their own terms as they grow older, sometimes with the help of caregivers or assistive technologies. Life expectancy is on the rise: The World Health Organization estimates that the number of people aged 80 years will almost quadruple to 395 million between now and 2050. The Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard University estimates that by 2035, one-third of U.S. households will be headed by a 65-year-old or older.
Innovative technology is playing a major role in helping seniors live comfortably at home while providing their loved ones with peace of mind. Adults 50 and older are curious about smart home technology and devices that provide convenience and safety, according to AARP, formerly known as the American Association of Retired Persons. They’re especially interested in home security tech, like door cameras, sensors that monitor doors and windows, and smart appliances, according to their 2020 report.
Here’s a look at 11 smart home features geared at helping the elderly live comfortably at home:
Smart thermostats are becoming commonplace in family homes of all shapes and sizes, whether households have young children right up to seniors living independently. They allow you to “set it and forget it,” so you can plug in your preferences for how you’d like to heat and cool your home throughout the day. You can even control the temperature remotely on a smartphone, so family members can check on their elderly parents’ home and make adjustments if needed. If your parents want to turn up the temperature on a chilly night, they can do so without having to get out of bed.
Smart thermostats can even identify when no one’s home and lower the heating or cooling until your loved one comes home.
If your elderly parents live in cooler climates, they may opt for heated floors in the kitchen and bathroom, with easy-to-use controls synced with their smartphones.
If seniors are living with dementia or Alzheimer’s disease, you may be worried about them leaving the lights on, faucets running, or – in a worst-case scenario – keeping the stove or oven on. Appliance monitoring systems allow anyone to turn off appliances, even remotely, and alert you if any unusual activity is detected. Smart lighting can connect to the household’s Wi-Fi so it can be controlled on a smartphone app too, saving seniors a trip to the light switch. Smart blinds can also function via smartphone for elderly parents who have trouble with balance or reach.
Smart thermostats and automated lighting are a big help with energy efficiency too, lowering utility bills. You can pre-set the time for lights to turn on and off, saving energy while keeping your loved ones safe in well-lit homes.
Automated doors and cabinets help seniors navigate their homes; they can avoid struggling to open heavy doors, especially if they’re wheelchair-bound or rely on a walker or crutches.
Most homes built for aging in place feature safety handrails, walk-in bathtubs and adjustable furniture. Toilets, countertops, tables and chairs can be adjusted to their height.