Senior citizens are living longer than ever before. In the past, it was common for seniors to be in their 80s when they passed away. Now, the average life expectancy is 85 years old, and many people are living into their 90s or even 100. Many are doing so more safely and enjoyably by utilizing aging in place technology.
This means that more caregivers will be challenged caring for their elderly loved ones who can no longer care for themselves like they used to. Fortunately, there has been an increase in technology designed specifically for aging adults that help them live at home independently and safely long after most of us would have given up hope due to age-related issues like arthritis, mobility challenges or vision loss.
By reading this article, you’ll be able to better understand which tools work best for your loved one’s needs so that you can feel more confident discussing this topic with them as you plan the best aging in place strategy! Aging in place has many social and financial advantages to offer but it is not right for everyone and needs to be assessed on a case-by-case basis.
The CDC defines aging in place as: “The ability to live in one’s own home and community safely, independently, and comfortably, regardless of age, income, or ability level.” 1
Important disclaimer: This article aims to show the many benefits to older adults who choose to age in place in the comfort of their homes. This may not be the safest choice for some individuals. Consult with your doctor or physical therapist for advice concerning your specific needs and condition to see if aging in place is right for you.
Common misconceptions about aging in place technology products
There are several commonly held misconceptions about aging in place technology products that we will discuss.
For example, some people believe that these technologies are only for the wealthy and not practical for those living on a fixed income.
In reality, many of these products are affordable as well as easy to use and maintain.
Misconception #1: aging in place technology products are too expensive
If you’re worried about the cost of aging in place technology, let me put your mind at ease! Technology for seniors is not as expensive as it used to be.
Many products are less than $50 but the cost should not be evaluated at the individual product level. The true cost should compare aging in place verses assisted living facilities or a nursing home. You should discuss your options with your doctor to see if aging in place is right for you. If it is, with prudent planning and the right technology in place can give you a substantial cost savings over the alternatives.
Costs are part of evaluating the aging in place solution, but the social and emotional benefits should also be weighed. 2
Misconception #2: aging in place technology products are too complicated to set up
Many solutions for aging in place are very easy to use. For example, there’s a smart home system that requires no installation and can be controlled with your smartphone or tablet.
Misconception #3: aging in place technology products are too complicated to use
The truth is they are not overly complicated, but some products require some knowledge and patience to use effectively. Most products have toll-free customer service numbers with helpful people ready to walk you through proper product set up and usage. YouTube videos are also available for many products as well.
Misconception #4: aging in place technology products need a lot of space
No. The best products don’t require a lot of space and are easy to set up.
Misconception #5: only very old people use aging in place technology products
Aging in place technology can be useful to anyone. I agree that it’s designed with the elderly in mind, but everyone over 60 will appreciate these products.
It is our hope that if you had any misconceptions about aging in place technologies that they have been cleared up. To explore more in depth how these technologies can benefit you please read through the list below.
Aging in Place Benefits
Many seniors are staying in their homes longer, and that’s a good thing. Aging in place technology can help seniors by providing many benefits such as safety, comfort, and independence. Technology can also help make life easier for caregivers by providing them with more opportunities to connect with seniors who live far away or may be homebound.
Here is a list of some aging in place benefits:
- There are many benefits to seniors who choose to stay in their own home – the most notable being that it reduces stress, stay safe and allows them to maintain independence.
- Seniors who stay in their homes, find it more affordable and less stressful than alternatives. The cost of aging in place often outweighs the costs associated with moving into an assisted living facility or nursing home
- Technology helps seniors with medical needs by providing necessary reminders and alerts.
- The use of smart home devices like smart lights, thermostats, door locks, and security cameras makes it easier for seniors to live on their own without assistance or supervision.
- Seniors who age in place have a higher quality of life and experience less social isolation than those who move into assisted living facilities or retirement communities because they are not uprooted from relatives, friends, clubs, churches and everything they know.
- Aging in place technology can help seniors live longer, healthier lives because they don’t need to move out of their homes and into assisted living facilities or nursing homes
- Aging in place technology designed for people with mobility challenges makes it easier for them to stay at home and possibly decreasing the need for caregivers. Consult with your doctor or physical therapist for advice concerning your specific needs and condition.
- Technology helps seniors remain connected with their families and friends through video chatting
Technology has made it possible for seniors to stay in their homes longer. From safety and comfort to independence, there are many benefits of aging in place technology that makes life easier on the senior and on their caregivers. If you’re looking for ways to help your loved one age-in-place safely and comfortably, take a look at the following list of some of the more popular types of senior safety products available today!
Aging in Place Products
If you have decided that aging in place is right for you after discussing it with your doctor, occupational therapist and family what are the next steps? How do you “age in place” as safely and as cost effective as possible? What about safety and security concerns? There are home alarm systems and motion sensor lights in the yard to name a few! What if you are alone and cannot get to a phone but need emergency care? There are medical alert bracelets and remote monitoring systems that help with that! All these aging in place products and more help keep seniors safe and independent. Here are some aging in place general areas to consider.
Keeping your home safe from burglary and break-ins is important for everyone and especially for seniors that are aging in place. Here are a few things to help you start making your home safer. We have broken them down into two categories: assessment tasks and helpful products
Make it seem like someone is always home
- Put a hold on mail so it doesn’t pile up
- Make sure that your lawn stays mowed, or snow is shoveled
- Leave a few lights on or put them on timers
Keep the outside of your home safe
- Remove hiding places by trimming trees and bushes
- Remove ladders and chairs that can be used to crawl into windows or access your roof
- Remove items of high value from sight to lower temptations
- Display security stickers and signs even if you do not have such systems
- Display a “Beware of Dog” sign even if you do not even own a goldfish!
Helpful Home Security Products
Stop hiding a spare key and get a smart door lock from Amazon
Install motion-activated lights (indoor)
Motion-activated indoor lights make it much safer and easier to walk around your house at night.
Here are some of the benefits when using them in your home:
- low energy LED bulbs save you money
- they are a big convenience by automatically turn on
- they save you money by automatically turn off
install motion-activated lights (outdoor)
Motion activated outdoor lights are a beneficial addition to any home. The motion sensors instantly provide the needed illumination when anyone is walking around your yard at night. They also act as a deterrent to would-be criminals who would rather not be exposed by light as they look for a vulnerable entrance into your home at night. Most models automatically shut off in about 30 seconds when no movement is detected. This cuts down on wasted energy usage as well as prevents accidents!
install indoor security cameras (motion detection, night vision, cloud storage)
If you’re looking to protect your home and loved ones, there are several ways that indoor security cameras can help. Motion detection is one thing that sets these devices apart from other surveillance equipment. Many models also immediately alert authorities when an intruder enters the premises by sending notifications and live video feed updates in real-time directly to your mobile device via a Wi-Fi connection.
Install outdoor security cameras (motion detection, night vision, cloud storage)
The benefits of outdoor security cameras are obvious: they can be used to monitor traffic and deter crime. What’s not so clear is how much it costs for these features, but fortunately there are plenty of options out there if the price point puts you off.
Install a smart doorbell
Since the smart doorbells are always connected to Wi-Fi and you can set up notifications, that enable constant surveillance of your home. You will never miss any visitors arriving or anything happening in front of your house because a notification pops on your phone when noise is detected. There’s no need for expensive cameras that don’t work anyway if someone knocks on the door while you’re at work! The best part? It doesn’t even matter where you are since these alerts happen instantly on your smartphone so you are able to answer it live from anywhere.
Mobility Safety and Fall Prevention
Bathroom safety is an area of concern for seniors who live independently. The CDC says that “all adults, aged 65 and over, are at risk for a fall”. They go on to say, “Falls are not a normal part of aging – they can be prevented”. 3
When it comes to bathroom safety, slippery and hard surfaces compound the danger, making the restroom for seniors a bad accident waiting to happen. A little careful planning and effort can go a long way to make the bathroom a much safer place for seniors.
More than just a way to monitor your home, senior Remote Monitoring provides peace of mind and financial savings.
Remote monitoring services for seniors provide benefits that go beyond making sure the house is safe: they’re also an inexpensive alternative to in-home care or assisted living facilities. The typical cost per day at such facilities ranges from $400-$600 whereas remote monitoring is much cheaper!
More tech friendly tips for seniors
1. Install a light switch near the front door that turns on and off all lights in the house
2. Add nightlights to all hallways, bathrooms, and bedrooms
3. Use smart bulbs on lamps that are Alexa compatible in rooms where people spend most of their time
4. Get rid of any clutter that might be a tripping hazard
5. Install a tablet with voice recognition software that can be used by seniors to make calls
6. Add an iPad to the bedroom for entertainment purposes
7. Switch prescriptions to be mail order delivered
8. Install mobile aps that will make their lives easier, safer and entertained
- Ride sharing
- Grocery delivery
- Food delivery
- Crossword puzzles and other entertainment
9. ensure that cell phone charging stations are well placed and easily accessible
10. Teach your loved one how to use technology so they’ll feel more confident using it themselves and won’t need help from you as much anymore
11. Get rid of any cords, wires loose rugs around the house that could potentially tangle someone up while walking or lead them into danger (elevators, stairs, etc.)
12. Make sure there’s always plenty of light throughout the house so your loved one isn’t stumbling around in darkness trying to find what they’re looking for
13. Add a single, large button to your home’s thermostat that is easy to see and use
14. Install motion-activated lights in the house so seniors can go from room to room without having to turn on or off each light manually
15. Invest in a ceiling fan with an automatic timer for summer cooling
16. Add a smoke detector that is loud and has a flashing strobe light.
Aging in place may seem like a daunting task to plan for, but there are many benefits and more resources available today than ever before. Seniors who stay in their home can benefit from technology products designed specifically to keep them safe and independent.
The benefits that aging in place can provide are numerous: seniors are able to maintain independence while still being close to loved ones; they’re able to stay active mentally and physically because they have access to nearby resources like shopping centers, parks, doctors’ offices; and this helps them feel less isolated from society. There are also many financial benefits of aging in place over assisted living and nursing home arrangements.
It’s important to know the risks and how you can avoid them, but with careful planning aging in place can be done safely and enjoyably.
- Center of Disease Control and Prevention, Healthy Places, “Healthy Places Terminology” Accessed July 10, 2021.
- Office of Policy Development and Research, Evidence Matters, “Measuring the Costs and Savings of Aging in Place” Accessed July 10, 2021.
- Center of Disease Control and Prevention, Fact Sheet Older Adult Falls, “Clinician Fact Sheet” Accessed July 10, 2021.