Home automation is going to give our senior loved ones the ability to live in their homes more safely, enjoyably and comfortably, many well into their elder years.
Home monitoring using video and motion detectors is going to give family members and other caregivers peace of mind, knowing the seniors about whom we care are safe and well – and that they’ll get notification quickly if not.
The exhibition floor at the 2012 International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) included many devices and systems that carry the promise of letting seniors live independently at home, often without the need for regular caregiver support, for longer than previously thought practical.
Not only is living out our lives in the home of our choice, known as aging in place, a desire of many adults but it is also typically a far less expensive way to live than in senior living facilities. With savings and retirement plans strained and the future fate of Social Security uncertain, being less expensive is an added attraction of aging in place.
So, all is great, right – or is it?
Despite doubts expressed by some family members and some “experts”, we expect most seniors will eventually not only accept but also embrace home technology that makes life more comfortable and enjoyable. After all, the next set of surveys is likely to show that a majority of seniors are online, using computers, smartphones and tablets to surf the web, use social media and much more. Also, the senior population includes a growing number of boomers. While they didn’t grow up with technology in the same way as younger generations, the technology grew up with the boomers.
When it comes to in-home monitoring technology, will our senior loved ones embrace, accept or even tolerate it? Will we when our time comes?
Home technology can and will be able to give family caregivers peace of mind by letting them know that
- mom is getting out of bed each day,
- grandpa is going into the kitchen to eat, or
- the senior loved one developing Alzheimer’s is not wandering out of the house alone.
That same technology, though, may also be seen by senior loved ones as intruding on their privacy and taking away their independence in a way that even a live-in caregiver might not. Sleeping late because you socialized late the night before or not wanting lunch because you had a big breakfast are not indications of problems, but may draw questions from your family because the monitoring system was triggered.
Both would be seeing the same thing, of course, but from different perspectives. Who’s right? If the objective is to improve the lives of senior loved ones, we hope THEY feel their lives have been improved. That means we have to put ourselves in their shoes and seek technology solutions that can be embraced.
What’s the solution? Certainly there will be cases where the well being of a senior loved one outweighs what they want, but maybe that step can be avoided with efforts up front. After all, remote controls, computers, cell phones and other devices were all new to them at some point and have been embraced by most.
We care enough to want to do it right.
Coming next, potential steps to get senior loved ones to embrace monitoring technology. Check back here or sign up for our updates so you don’t miss it.