The Senior Care Corner staff recently spent a few days talking technology for seniors, their families and caregivers at the 2011 Consumer Electronics Show and made some interesting finds. There were several vendors specifically targeting seniors with the products, which we will discuss on Senior Home Technology over the coming weeks, but not as many as you would expect given how fast the senior market is growing.
Beyond that, there were many exhibitors with technologies that would be of interest to seniors and families and other caregivers of seniors, especially long distance caregivers. Few were outwardly promoting their technologies to the senior and caregiver markets but all were excited to talk about the application of this application for their technologies and many mentioned having a number of installations for these customers.
Home automation systems were numerous at CES and we will be discussing several at Senior Home Technology soon. We are particularly interested in these systems because they can serve multiple functions for seniors and their families and caregivers.
- remotely performing convenience functions in the home, such as opening/closing blinds, adjusting the thermostat or scheduling prescription times
- checking whether the front door is locked and locking it if needed for a memory-impaired senior (or unlocking it if keys were left inside)
- providing notification of specified activities in the home, such as opening the refrigerator, preparing meals, or leaving the house after a certain hour of the night
Of course, many of these systems also provide more traditional functions, such as communications and home security.
The primary targets of these technologies are younger adults who are into gadgets and new technology but the manufacturers recognize the potential value to the senior market, even suggesting specific configurations they have seen installed in the past to meet seniors’ needs. Most systems are expensive today and are not covered by insurance or medicare and thus are likely being targeted to those perceived as more likely purchasers. That means until there is a defined senior market for more technology we have to go look for the opportunities. We will be doing that for you, of course, and will follow these technology segments over time to report back here and on Senior Home Technology. As with most tech, we expect prices to fall quickly and features to improve, especially as the vendors develop applications targeted to seniors. As seniors and their caregivers begin to request more devices, the sooner the manufacturers will fill the niche.
If you have specific technology needs or questions, we would love to investigate the options for you. Leave a comment today!