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How Smart Home Tech Can Help Retirees Age In Place

  • June 12, 2019

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The thought of smart home devices may conjure the idea of tech-savvy millennials using smart thermostats to regulate temperatures or smart appliances to maximize efficiency.  However, smart home technology can also help older homeowners.  As more and more retirees plan to age in place rather than downsizing or moving into a retirement community, smart home technology is making the transition easier.

The American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) reports 77% of adults over 50 would like to stay in their current homes, but only 46% believe they will be able to do so as they age.  With the internet of things connecting everything from speakers and thermostats to everyday digitized objects, aging in place may be possible.  Devices like Amazon’s Alexa and Google Home allow users to operate things like lights and home security through voice control.  Tech companies are pioneering more and more smart home features each day that can autotomize everything from home repair to monitoring urgent medical needs.  The right ecosystem of smart home technology makes it easier for aging occupants to stay comfortably in their homes.

Notion, an internet-of-things company, now offers a multi-sensor system to detect potential problems like changes in air temperature or water leaks that if left unchecked could lead to costly HVAC and plumbing repairs.  Some home insurance providers even offer discounts for homeowners using such systems to prevent expensive maintenance.  Through its partnership with Home Advisor, a professional pre-screening company for repair services, Notion can even connect the homeowner with an available plumber or repair person when a home maintenance issue is detected.

With aging comes medical issues, and AI-enabled devices can help mitigate the frequency or intensity of major health events.  Pria, the home companion from Black & Decker, is a smart medication manager that communicates between family members who wish to remotely monitor medication intake, set health reminders, and even video chat with their loved ones.  Adult children get the peace of mind that their parents are okay, even if they live out of state.   An MIT startup, called Emerald, is also testing sensors that can monitor changes in the occupants’ behavior and other irregularities that can lead to medical issues.  Emerald monitors can detect a lack of movement or a change in the way the person is walking, that could lead to a hazardous fall, without the need to wear a pendant or alert bracelet. 

Adding smart home technology to your home will come with an added cost.  However, these price points may be fluid.  As certain technology becomes more widespread and vital, system integration may be more cost effective.  If you’re interested in adding smart home upgrades to your home, consider talking with a mortgage professional.  Some additions may even increase the resale value of your home. 

 

Sources: MarketWatch

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