We all know that the population is ageing. The baby boom generation is reaching retirement age at amazing rate. Right now, in North America 11,000 people turn 65 EVERY DAY. By 2030, 20% of the population will be over 65. But this is a new generation of seniors. They want to remain active, many want to keep working as long as they can, and they want to remain in their own homes in the neighbourhoods they love.
Their children are busy, or may live in another city and can’t provide the daily support they need. Seniors want to feel like they have their freedom without being controlled. Home automation can play a large role in making this possible.
It can make seniors feel confident staying in their own homes years or even decades longer. While home automation has benefits for people of all ages, there are some aspects of this technology that appeal in particular to ageing homeowners. Here are some of the important ones to consider:
Security: Seniors want to feel that they will not be a victim of undesired intrusion. They feel especially vulnerable if they live alone. Home automation can offer a wide variety of ways to offer piece of mind.
Security cameras to show the outside of the house are a good start, but even more important is the ability to answer the door from anywhere in the house and see who is there before deciding to open it.
If they feel unsafe, they can easily connect to emergency services. For added security, family members or caregivers can monitor the condition of the home from anywhere in the world on a variety of devices.
Improved lighting is also a strong source of security. Clear bright lighting that turns on automatically in the house or yard can often put seniors at ease. Turning lights on and off from bed is a major comfort. Coming home to a well lit property is also important.
Window Coverings: Precise and safe closing of blinds with the touch of a button is another way to make seniors feel secure in their privacy.
Technical Security: A home automation system can detect dangers like water leaks, gas leaks or even more important, temperature changes and alert the homeowner or someone off site to the nature of the problem. Appliances that have been left on can be turned off from bed or from outside the house.
Mobility and comfort: For arthritis sufferers, converting routine tasks to simple push buttons can make a big difference in comfort; from something as simple as a push button front door system that eliminates the need for door keys to running the washing machine or dishwasher and turning on the television. When every room in the house is connected to the system, there’s no such thing as running for the phone or rushing to answer the door, both dangerous situations for seniors.
Medical Support: A lot of confidence can be gained by wearing a “panic button” at all times. Pressing that button can send a message to family or emergency services or both. Adding this to the home automation system can be a major source of comfort to older home owners.
Leisure and Entertainment: The new generation of seniors are not only interested in movies and television. They are one of the fastest growing groups on social networks as they find they can keep in touch with both old friends and young family members through the internet. They can benefit from the improved visual and sound quality of home theatre with built-in internet connection. The hard of hearing can have their own wireless headsets to enjoy the sound the way they want it. With the touch of a button, the homeowner can send a Facebook message to a friend, or connect with a grandchild face to face on Skype.
Many people will say “that sounds great, but how can seniors afford it?” A better question is “How much can we save by staying in our own home for many years instead of moving into an extended care facility?”
The new generation of home automation products is far easier to integrate in to an existing home. Through the use of single-cable and wireless solutions, the amount of labour and disruption can be kept to a minimum. With systems that run on ipads, and new competitive pricing from the major manufacturers that comes from increased production, home automation is within the reach of more and more people all the time.
If you have parents that are seniors, you owe it to them to openly discuss how they intend to live safely and comfortably in their own home. A home automation specialist can discuss a solution that is custom tailored to meet the needs and budget of you or your loved ones.