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The Best Advice for Seniors Looking to Age in Place in a Digital World

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Posted August 22, 2018

The general population is growing older, and most seniors want to remain in their homes through their golden years.  Thanks to smart home upgrades, aging in place is getting easier.  Gadgets, features and tools abound for creating a living environment promoting independence, comfort and safety.

Image credit: jcfrog via Pixabay, CC0 Public Domain

Smart homes mean freedom.  While sometimes change can be uncomfortable, smart home technology means improving comfort for seniors who want to age in place.  As age takes its toll on the body, strength, hearing and vision can decline.  Traditionally, that often meant growing old in your own home could be a struggle at best.  Many seniors fortunate enough to live long lives were forced into institutionalized settings, or needed to rely on friends and family members to manage daily tasks.  However as CBS News points out, independent living is more attainable than ever.  Smart home technology offers a variety of realistic solutions to the aging in place dilemma.

Light up your life.  Seniors are at an increased risk for falls and complications from falls.  In fact, according to some statistics, falls are the number one cause of death for people over the age of 65.  Along with aging often comes waning eyesight, balance issues and problems with depth perception.  As Merck Manual points out, if other issues are thrown into the mix such as medications or health conditions leading to loss of sensation or reduced blood flow, it’s easy to see why seniors are susceptible to falls.

However, adding “smart lighting” to your home can greatly improve safety.  Lights can be motion activated so seniors don’t need to find a switch when they enter a room, which can be particularly helpful whether using a mobility device or just carrying a load of laundry.  Lights can also be controlled via smartphone apps, allowing you to ensure your home is lit if you run late from an outing or simply want to turn lights on and off while traveling.  You can alter the brightness of lighting as well, allowing for dim but safe movement to the bathroom or kitchen at night.

Money savers.  If you are like many older Americans, you are on a “fixed” income.  You can improve your financial security using smart home technology, since some devices reduce energy usage, which translates to lower utility bills.  For instance, installing a “smart thermostat” can save you hundreds of dollars every year.  Security systems with sensors also can keep you informed when other issues arise such as a window left open on a rainy day or when plumbing springs a leak, potentially saving thousands of dollars in damage to your home.

Staying in touch.  Many seniors rely on friends, family members and neighbors to keep tabs on them, particularly when health or mobility isn’t up to par.  HGTV notes smart home technology makes this easier for you and your loved ones.  You can chat regularly via the Internet, or there are options that unobtrusively track of your patterns of behavior and alert loved ones when you aren’t in your routine, for instance if you fall or are sick.

Gadgets galore.  The number of appliances and other gadgets available using smart technology is growing by leaps and bounds.  You can equip virtually every room in your home with a device to make life easier.  For instance, smart ovens can be adjusted from your phone, so you can alter time and temperature without getting up from your recliner.

Another suggestion is to install a trash bin that records barcodes as you dispose of items, adding them to an electronic shopping list.  This can be helpful not only for you, but you can share your list if someone is helping with your shopping.  There are devices that monitor health information such as heart rate and blood pressure, and apps for scheduling appointments with your physician.  Pill containers can remind you to take your medications, and there are even waterers to help take care of Fido.

Safe, smart and independent.  Your golden years just got a little brighter.  There are tools, devices and apps to keep you living at home comfortably and independently.  Aging in place is getting easier, thanks to smart home technology.

Written by Janet Campbell

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