Some assume that seniors just aren’t technically savvy. And while that may be the case for some seniors, that is quickly falling to the wayside. As more baby boomers begin to retire and look to live out their golden years in comfort, many of these seniors are turning to aging in place technology to help them gain better control of their homes and modify it to fit their needs.
And as these age groups are buying up more and more technology, the market has taken notice. The smart home market is estimated to be worth $159 billion by 2024, in part to those 50 years and over. So many companies have come out with new, affordable devices over the last few years that cater to seniors’ needs and make their lives easier. TechForAging’s Smart Home articles cover a broad range of these devices.
Below, the expert insurance team at Hippo breaks down its considerations of the best smart tech for seniors to add to their home. They also include various remodels that will help mitigate possible physical or mental ailments such as balance issues, mobility loss, memory loss, or diminishing hearing.
Helpful Technology For All
When tackling a home remodeling or updating project, it’s best to consider all the people inside their home. While many seniors live alone as they age in place, not all do. If they have little ones inside their home, or if they don’t have any current ailments but still want to prepare, the following general remodeling tips will help them get there without draining their bank account.
- Add electronic temperature controls to showers and sinks to prevent accidental scalding and allow them to control the max temperature from anywhere.
- Add landlines, cell phones, or emergency buttons in each room to make calling for help a breeze.
- If they have a gas stove, consider updating it to electric, to reduce burns and gas leak risks.
- Install remote control light fixtures to make turning on and off lights much more accessible.
- Replace all light bulbs with brighter, LED versions to aid in visibility and minimize the need for replacements.
By adding in these tech devices, they can ensure safety for themselves and all their guests throughout their retirement, not to mention boosting the value of their home as well. That way, if they do decide to sell down the line, their installations will pay off and increase their ability to sell.
Devices That Help Seniors Get Around
The Mobility Resource Report estimates that at least 20% of seniors have some sort of mobility issue. Therefore updating their home to make it easier to get around is not only smart but crucial if aging in place is their ultimate goal. Some updates don’t require any technology at all – adjusting the bed frame to a lower height or adding grab bars to the shower. But there have been technological advances in recent years that can make any home more manageable if general mobility starts to fade.
Below, we break down a few of the smart tech and other devices that can be implemented into most homes to make it easier for seniors to get what they need when they need it, as well as travel up and down the stairs by themselves.
- Add in a ramp or lift to all sets of stairs within their home to help them get around independently.
- Buy an electric scooter to make getting around their home and yard easier, just make sure to take up any rugs or clutter on the ground!
- Install mechanized shelving throughout the home to help bring necessities to a lower level.
Losing some mobility can be disheartening for seniors, but it doesn’t mean they have to lose their independence. While most homes cater to those with mobility issues, with a few minor modifications, almost any home can be a more accommodating version of itself. That way, they can stay in the house they worked so hard to pay for for years to come.
Aiding in Vision or Hearing Loss
One of the most beneficial aspects of the smart technology market is how customizable it has become, meaning that even when they buy a generic product, they can customize its software or interface to fit their needs. Customization is especially helpful for seniors who are losing their vision or hearing, or those who are just having slight issues hearing the phone ring or finding things throughout their home.
Wearable tech for seniors has made significant strides in recent years, including smartwatches that will monitor their heart rate and overall health, not to mention alert them when their other devices are going off through a small vibration. Wearables that vibrate are perfect for seniors who have trouble hearing or seeing like they used to, as they are much more likely to feel a small vibration on their wrist than see someone at the door (or hear the doorbell ring).
The following is a list of the top tech devices seniors can add to their homes to increase their independence and safety.
- Install a screen reader to landline and cell phones to help transcribe voice recordings or calls for reading.
- Install a smart doorbell on the front door, so they can see who is there from their couch and communicate with them if necessary.
- Update their fire alarms to include flashing lights, sounds, and vibration, so they know when there is an emergency. They can even connect some fire alarms to their phone or smartwatch to alert them when they are away from home.
- Put in new light switches that have lights or that glow in the dark so that they can find the light switches easily each night.
- Add motion detection lights inside and outside of their homes to keep things lit as they walk around. Lighting also helps deter intruders from entering the house.
- Turn up their phone volume, or buy them a new one that has flashing, vibrating, and ringing capabilities so that they can quickly tell when someone is trying to contact them.
Outside of the smart tech proven to increase their safety, there are plenty of non-technical updates for those with vision or hearing problems. First, make sure that essential items and information are easily accessible. Place remote controls, phone chargers, and other electronic devices in a basket by their favorite chair.
First aid kits should be visible in every room so that they can call for help should they get injured. Emergency phone numbers should also be visible in strategic locations in case they forget who to call. Another thing to consider is a new paint job, as lighter, matte colors can help reduce glare in most rooms and help those with vision problems see easier during the day.
While this may seem like a lot of updates to make to a home, consider just how grateful they’ll be for these additional features once they start to experience these typical ailments. If interested in more home update suggestions for the elderly, head over to Hippo’s blog to learn more about the best and easiest remodels they can make for a simplified home.