Aging in Place
How smart home technology and devices can enhance independent living and the quality of life of retirees.
Brunswick County is the fastest growing North Carolina county, attracting people who wish to relocate, raise a family or retire. According to USA Today, Brunswick County is also one of the top 25 healthiest areas to retire in the United States, due to its favorable climate, quiet coastal communities, friendly locals and top quality healthcare.
Around 30.5 percent of Brunswick County’s population is composed of people age 65 years and older, according to the U.S. Census. Although the elderly prefer to live independently and age in place, many of them may also need assistance in their day-to-day living such as bathing, dressing or cooking. One of the major concerns of aging in place is the need to ensure that the elderly are safe on their own. Some may have a chronic condition or a disability. Falls and other injuries are major concerns.
To make life easier for the elderly people who want to age independently, smart homes and technology can enhance independent living, improve safety, and promote a good end of life quality.
Modifying a home to make it senior-friendly not only entails installing grab bars and rails or raised toilet seats, but also the integration of safety monitoring. Seniors must be able to call for help, raise the alarm to clinics or hospitals or alert caregivers if there is an emergency. Wearable medical sensors and modern communications and information technologies will allow continuous monitoring of the elderly’s health and well-being. Moreover, healthcare personnel will be able to keep track of their patient’s overall health in real time.
Giving seniors control over their home – whether it is to regulate thermostats, use futuristic voice-controlled lighting systems or to install fridges that can detect when supplies are low or smart stoves that will reduce accidents and burns – will provide the elderly autonomy at home. Robots can do the cleaning and mopping without putting stress on mature adults. There are even androids that can do the heavy lifting, if seniors have limited physical mobility reducing the physical burden on the caregiver.
Another problem that seniors aging in place encounter is mobility. Nearly 20 percent of U.S. drivers are 65 years and above, making them one of the fastest-growing demographics in America. Unfortunately, aging can also affect the eyesight or change motor skills.
In the future, driverless vehicles can assist in enhancing the mobility of the elderly and even allow those who cannot drive to take the road. Human error is also reduced, improving the safety of motorists. For example, Google’s Waymo has already successfully tested a ride with a blind man behind the wheel. The tech giant also includes features that are meant to assist the elderly and the disabled to drive, such as touch screens for those who are hearing impaired and two-way voice communication.
Pair the superb benefits of Brunswick County living with futuristic technological home advances available today, and you’ll get the retirement of your dreams. Smart home technology can enhance aging in place and independent living, making it easy for mature adults to live alone and for caregivers to keep an eye on them.