Aging in place refers to the ability of older people to remain in their home. People are living longer lives, and attitudes toward aging are changing. It’s no longer assumed that someone will retire and eventually need to move to a nursing home or retirement community. For those who want to remain living in their own houses as they get older, tech offers many opportunities to make that safer and more comfortable.
Tech can offer a higher level of safety and security for older adults in a number of different ways. First, smart locks can eliminate the need to keep up with and fumble with keys when trying to get in or out. They can also be programmed to make it easier for others, such as neighbors or relatives, to get into the house. With a smart doorbell, seniors can easily identify who is at the door. Other safety elements have to do with the ability of tracking devices to monitor conditions such as a high blood pressure and transmit information to a doctor. In addition, there are devices older adults can wear that can send out an alert if the person falls and is immobile beyond a certain amount of time.
One of the biggest challenge many seniors may face when trying to remain in their home is navigating steps. A fall can lead to additional health issues, and some older adults may simply assume that they will eventually have to sell their multistory home. However, a home lift can mean that this is not the case. The rising popularity in domestic lifts has helped drive costs down, and it is generally possible to install one in most types of structures.
Some seniors may struggle to keep up with everyday tasks. Even those who do can remain more independent with a variety of gadgets and devices that can help with these types of tasks. There are robots that can keep the floor clean and smart thermostats that can help regulate temperature in the home. Seniors who wish to make a phone call, watch a movie, or play music may welcome voice-activated technology, particularly if arthritis or other health conditions make it difficult for them to operate small buttons and remote controls.
Technology can also allow seniors to stay more engaged with friends and family members who are far away. Where grandparents might once have had to rely on letters and phone calls to stay in touch with grandchildren, today, they can participate in regular video chats. These adults can stay entertained and educated using a smartphone with relative ease. The same tools could allow them to virtually attend such events as a school play or a sporting match that their grandchildren are involved in. In addition, seniors, like people in other age groups, can go online to connect with others. Staying social can be especially important as people age, and while online is not a substitute for real life, it can be helpful if they are housebound. It can help them make initial connections that they can turn into opportunities for meeting up in person.