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Smart Homes: The Future of Aging in Place

By September 30, 2015Aging in Place

Do you think that an aging person ever thinks to themselves, “Gee, I can’t wait to live in a nursing home!” It’s a good chance that almost never occurs. The AARP reports that 90 percent of seniors would prefer to stay in their homes as long as possible. Taking into account the fact that the number of Americans over 65 will double by 2030, there are going to be millions of seniors striving to age in place.

Today, technology is flourishing. Every day there’s a new invention, from medical science to new toys for children. The world of the future for seniors is looking bright; many devices already exist that can drastically increase not only the standard of living but also confidence and sense of security as seniors remain in their homes. These devices include smart locks, fall detectors, and automatic lights.

Smart Locks
With increasing age, short-term memory fails to work as it once did. Smart locks will eliminate the common problem that people of all ages experience: being locked out of the house. Losing or forgetting keys will no longer be a problem when seniors can simply scan their fingerprint, tap a keycard, or input a code to gain entry to their house. This can be extended to loved ones, caretakers, and anyone who may have business in the home such as a repairman. For an older person who is sick in bed or too frail to get up and open the door, they could admit visitors without getting up.

Fall Detectors
A common risk for seniors is falling. A younger person can fall and get up with no issue. For the elderly, a fall can be debilitating, resulting in months of rehabilitation and extremely limited mobility. Sensors in the house can detect when a senior falls. The sensors automatically alert family members, caregivers, and/or emergency responders to come and assist. A senior who is left lying on the floor for too long can become dehydrated or develop pneumonia because they can’t move.

Automatic Lights
In relation to midnight bathroom activity, automated lights could be invaluable for a senior’s home. The mattress itself can be fitted with sensors which detect the shifting of weight and send a signal to the overhead lights to turn on. On an even more complex level, is the ability of certain lights to turn on in phases, gradually becoming brighter and avoiding the shock of a sudden change in lighting. Sudden brightness can temporarily blind an older person, or someone who suffers from macular degeneration, a disease that makes it difficult for eyes to adjust to changes in lighting. Smart house lighting can also be programmed to “know” a senior’s routine, shutting lights off when they’ve left the home, or in specific rooms that are unoccupied.

The modern world offers advances and conveniences for all. With the right applications, it can mean aging in place for seniors, which improves their health, their happiness, and their rightful place in their own home.

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