As the U.S. Census Bureau declared in June 2023, “America is getting older.”
That fact is underscored by recent stats indicating that not only is the median age of American citizens inching up, but a greater share of the population will be 60 or older by the end of this decade.
While the aging population doesn’t come as a complete surprise, it does raise the issue of how families, institutions, and society can improve wellness for people who value their independence.
This comes amid an increased desire among our seniors—and those approaching that milestone—to remain at home as they age.
To that point, a 2021 Home and Community Preferences Survey conducted by AARP finds that 75 percent of those polled want to age in place in the comfort of their own homes.
Among the ways seniors can maintain independence and age in place is by improving living conditions, including utilizing home safety precautions and smart automation. These technologies provide improved quality of life, easy control of household functions, and invaluable insights for family members and caregivers.
Top user benefits include enhanced security, greater energy savings, and more convenience also provide invaluable peace of mind for caregivers. Lighting, heating and cooling, appliances, and other important household functions can all be scheduled and monitored to ensure the safety and well-being of loved ones.
Let’s discuss the many advantages smart home automation offers for those who wish to spend their golden years aging in place.
What Is Aging in Place?
Aging in place means living in your home as you grow older and maintaining your independence. Ensuring safety and self-sufficiency are critical components of such a lifestyle—possibly entailing assistance from trusted family members, friends, or caregivers. Without this, many seniors may be forced to receive such care at assisted living or skilled nursing facilities, which they may be trying to avoid.
So how can seniors safely age in place?
Regardless of their support system, more than half of surveyed 50-plus-aged homeowners are currently utilizing, or plan to implement, smart home security and safety technologies.
Smart Automation & Wellness Benefits for Seniors
Many families and caregivers are naturally hesitant about moving loved ones to a nursing home or other senior care facility. However, when utilizing smart automation technologies such as Alarm.com Wellness, you can care for loved ones even when you cannot be there!
Implementing as much—or as little—of these non-intrusive Wellness components can help detect possible health and daily routine concerns. Using a customized in-app profile, this technology can include pressure-activated mattress and chair pads indicating excessive—or not enough—sleep and mobility.
Contact sensors on refrigerators and cabinet doors, for example, can be added for mealtime and medication adherence. Not only does this assist with your loved one’s physical well-being, but it also provides an improved state of mental health as they can still live independently.
If your loved one is fortunate enough to have more than one caregiver, Wellness also emails a daily, in-app activity highlight reel to up to 10 users.
Here’s a useful rundown of some of the most common smart home automation benefits for seniors:
- 24/7 Central Station Monitoring Directly Dispatching First Responders & Local Law Enforcement
- Interior Temperature Control to Manage Extreme Climate Fluctuations
- Motion Detection & Video Analytics Alerts Indicating Possible Injuries & Intrusions
- Safe, Contactless Communications When Receiving Deliveries & Visitors
- Activity Pattern Management Measuring Sleep Habits & Mobility
- Two-Way Audio/Video Check-Ins Through Alarm.com Wellcam
- Easy Integration With Qolsys Personal Emergency Response System (PERS) Wristbands
- Automated Highlights Summary of Daily Activities
- Contact Sensors on Refrigerator Doors & Medicine Cabinets Measuring Mealtimes & Medication Adherence
Smart Home Devices
Wellness features don’t have to be the only solution. The technology can be combined with smart home devices that can be remotely monitored and managed through mobile device apps:
- Indoor, Outdoor & Doorbell Cameras: When combined with 24/7 Central Station Alarm Monitoring, smart security cameras keep watchful eyes on your loved ones and visitors, with real-time alerts about concerning or suspicious activities. General Security provides easy check-ins through its Wellcam two-way audio/video device.
- Carbon Monoxide Detectors & Smoke Alarms: Ensuring the proper functionality of these vital, life-saving devices is just as important as smart automation. General Security remotely monitors and alerts you and your loved ones about smoke and carbon monoxide. Alarms with strobe lights and bed shaker alerts can also be added to help better protect those with hearing impairment.
- Pressure-Activated Mattress & Chair Pads: These can ensure your loved one is getting enough rest and exercise, as well as measuring any unusual instances–or not enough– of mobility.
- Thermostats: Smart automation helps ensure comfortable temperatures are maintained during warmer and cooler months—monitored through any mobile device! Extreme weather events can also be tracked, and interior temperature adjusted, accordingly.
- Smart Locks: Program personalized codes for easy access control, as well as emergencies such as lockouts or misplaced keys.
- Motion Detection: Combined with smart lighting, this can help avert slips and falls, and keep intruders at bay.
- Contact Sensors: Placed on windows and doors, these warn of any breaches. Consider adding them to medicine cabinets, and kitchen drawers and appliances, to monitor proper eating and medication schedules.
- Smart Stove & Grill Guards: Automatic shut-offs help prevent hazards associated with leaving stoves, grills or ovens running, such as fires and burns. This is especially important for those living with dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, or other disabilities.
- Flood Sensors: These lower the risk of property loss from water damage incurred by natural disasters, leaks, burst pipes, and more.
- Smart Outlets & LED Bulbs: Control and schedule on/off functions for electrical appliances, devices, and lights.
Health, Safety & Wellness Reassurance
Contact a reputable service provider to discuss the best smart home automation products for those aging in place. These systems and devices provide safety, security, and peace of mind.