“We have 78 million baby boomers that are all retiring at the same time.”
It’s a statistic that has inspired Wanda Gozdz to focus on aging in place and launch the organization Golden Age Living.
The premise is that baby boomers want to “age in place” in their own homes, or at least in a multifamily community that feels like home. There are several practices—including the use of smart home technology—builders can utilize to keep them comfortable and safe and put their family members’ minds at ease.
In the past, aging in place was about the design of the home or community, such as one level open floor plans, non-slip flooring and widened doorways.
But now, home control systems are making it even easier for builders to construct effective aging in place communities.
“Monitoring systems will support helping to care for the aging parents. They can be monitored remotely or they can be monitored on site,” says Gozdz.
Using this smart home technology, family members can either monitor their aging loved ones in a Casita—an apartment attached to their home—or from a separate single-family home or multifamily community. This is, of course, if builders install the right type of tech.
10 Effective Aging in Place Technologies
Wireless network/prewiring: Builders need to make sure the home or community is equipped to handle technology installed today and in the future.
- Electrical Outlets: Aging in place homes require more outlets that are closer together to accommodate all the tech.
- Lighting: Automated direct and task lighting enhances safety and mobility.
- Intercom System: Aging adults need a way to hear who’s at the door without traveling and risk falling.
- Security System: A connected security system can allow aging adults to see who’s outside, but the cameras inside the home also help concerned family members see if their loved ones are safe.
- Keyless Entry: Older people aren’t as dexterous and can’t see as well as younger people, so fumbling for keys can be frustrating.
- iPad: Because of its touch screen, it’s much easier for aging adults to communicate with and understand than computers. They can access their connected devices on the iPad. Gozdz says it also helps them communicate in real time with family members on Facebook or teleconference with doctors.
- Voice Activated Tech: It’s easier for older people to speak commands to their technology.
- Biometrics: This fingerprint technology makes it so they won’t have to remember passwords or complicated instructions.
- Backup Power System: Because everything is running on electrical power, you need to install a system that can work even during a power failure. This is especially important if medical technology is connected such as blood pressure and diabetes monitoring systems.
“As technology is being developed and more products are coming to market, I think builders are going to have to consider putting a backup system in as part of the package as an added value to the home,” says Gozdz.
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Gozdz also says these technologies are just a start. She sees huge advancements in the aging in place industry.
Picture medical robots and telemedical systems all tethered to the home network, so elderly individuals don’t even need to leave the house to go to the doctor and risk getting sick.