Terese Klitenic, 65, had two targets when she moved a couple of years in the past to a townhouse in Waverly Woods, a 55-plus group in Marriottsville.
One was to get pleasure from all that the active-adult group provides. The opposite was to organize for a lifetime of security and luxury because the years go by.
Likewise, in Boca Raton, Florida, wholesome octogenarians JT and Emily Galea wished to organize their one-story home for the very best life of their retirement.
Each houses incorporate necessities for protected senior residing, together with major bed room, tub and residing areas on one stage; easy flooring (that may accommodate wheelchairs and rollators); good lighting; and kitchens, baths, laundry and storage areas designed for protected, handy use.
However when it got here to incorporating know-how for getting older in place, the owners took very completely different approaches. Klitenic opted to begin small, with a couple of tech instruments. The Galea house is chock stuffed with high-tech enhancements.
Supporting well being, security and safety are essential parts of efficiently getting older in place. So are house administration techniques that preserve a snug atmosphere, and communication and recreation techniques that allow social engagement, stimulation and leisure.
Wanda Gozdz, president of Golden Age Residing, is a residential inside designer and licensed aging-in-place specialist whose firm gives CAPS coaching and providers. She says, “Growing old in place is the power to stay in your house as your way of life modifications over time.”
As CEO and co-founder of Tech-Enhanced Life, Richard Caro says he sees aging-in-place know-how as a method to assist folks preserve the day by day life they’ve lengthy loved. And whereas many tech techniques are useful, Caro notes that some points could be dealt with by easy, low-tech gadgets. He likes jar openers, for instance, as a result of they allow folks with weak or arthritic arms to proceed having fun with their favourite jarred meals.
Klitenic says she wished tech instruments that may permit her to “stay alone safely and revel in motion pictures and music and life usually.” Assisted by Zachary Klaiman of D.C.-based Ztech, an organization that gives know-how and help for seniors, she selected simply three issues: a Ring sensible doorbell, some Roku gadgets and an Apple watch.
With a digicam targeted on who’s close to the entrance door and a chime that rings when folks stroll by, the doorbell “makes me really feel safe,” she says. She already had a sensible TV, so she augmented two different units with Roku gadgets to stream packages and flicks. Roku “is cheap and straightforward to make use of,” she says. Whereas she’s happy that the watch can alert her contacts if she falls, she hasn’t explored most of its different options.
The inhabitants of Individuals 65 and older is a “silver tsunami,” Gozdz says.
“Older older adults” — these over 75, who didn’t develop up with computer systems, smartphones and different gadgets — “are probably to method know-how with trepidation,” says Madj Alwan, government director of the LeadingAge Middle for Growing old Providers Applied sciences. Coming behind them are teams with extra tech expertise. “In 5 years, retirees might be way more conversant in tech.”
For now, many older owners need assistance by means of the method, from selecting tech techniques to organising and utilizing them. They usually get it from younger folks, particularly members of the family.
It’s clever to work with specialists in aging-in-place know-how. Klaiman has IT help certification from Google and is incomes certification from Apple. By means of her D.C. firm Residing at Residence Consultations, occupational therapist Tori Goldhammer allows folks to proceed residing safely of their houses. She has certifications in house modifications, getting older in place and fall prevention, in addition to credentials as an assistive know-how practitioner. She recommends tech merchandise that may be helpful to owners, but additionally is “aware of what they’ll deal with.” As for organising tech gear, select a contractor skilled in sensible house set up.
And “caregivers who’ve expertise with know-how are important for the implementation and ongoing success of utilizing tech techniques,” says Carly Shilling, group residing program supervisor for the Howard County Workplace on Growing old and Independence.
“Know-how is the last word aging-in-place asset for those who use it accurately,” says Tom Kamber, government director of Older Adults Know-how Providers (OATS) from AARP. “It brings security, comfort, peace of thoughts — and a enjoyable issue.” Know-how helps all owners, however particularly seniors, by automating “issues which can be a ache or troublesome to do,” says Michael Miller, writer of “My Sensible Residence for Seniors.” Tech advances additionally permit caregivers exterior the home to observe and supply help remotely. Miller says some tech techniques could be laborious to make use of and troubleshoot, although “it’s simpler now than 4 or 5 years in the past.”
Alwan sees important enchancment, too. The voice management processing is extra pure now, he says, and touch-screen gadgets are simpler to make use of. “Tech has gotten radically extra intuitive,” Kamber says, including that the majority gadgets now are user-friendly. Kamber warns that owners may encounter issues in the event that they purchase “lower-cost knockoffs that will include design or interconnectivity flaws.”
Advances in tech are a two-edged sword, says Alwan. “The smarter it’s, the higher it is aware of you and predicts your habits.” That’s useful. But it surely additionally raises issues about potential privateness and safety dangers. The trade-off, Alwan says, is between comfort and safety. He doesn’t assume owners ought to fear. “You might be accountable for your privateness,” he says. Flip off the microphone in your sensible speaker, for example, whenever you don’t plan to make use of it. “Know the dangers and mitigate for them,” says Alwan, then “reap the advantages of sensible house know-how.”
What are the must-have sensible house techniques and gadgets for getting older in place? Right here’s an inventory of suggestions:
• WiFi with a broadband connection.
• A sensible speaker machine akin to Amazon Echo, Google Nest and Apple Residence. This must be the hub of the house tech system and must be synced with the opposite sensible merchandise. A sensible speaker system with digital assistant know-how can set timers, make lists and even make telephone calls by way of voice command.
• A tool akin to an iPad or Chromebook that has an interactive display screen for system use and administration. It’s essential to have the ability to visually and manually work together with sensible techniques.
• Sensible plugs and sensible lightbulbs programmed with a lighting schedule.
• Sensible video doorbells akin to Ring and Nest, door lock techniques akin to August sensible locks, and sensible burglar and hearth alarms. Sensible safety packages akin to these from Vivint and SimpliSafe embody these security measures and extra.
• Sensible remedy aids such because the Reminder Rosie sensible clock, Medminder tablet dispenser, and Pria or Hero Treatment administration subscription providers.
• Smartphones and smartwatches. They supply entry to apps to assist with well being administration, socialization, managing funds, family oversight and emergency response.
• In-home cameras that caregivers can entry to verify on the home-owner’s well-being and supply help remotely.
Klaiman additionally recommends an electrical tea kettle for security, because it shuts off mechanically when the water has been heated and eliminates the fireplace hazards of burners. For added security within the kitchen, gadgets akin to CookStop use movement sensors that may detect if no person is tending the cooking and mechanically shut off the oven or stovetop. Kamber recommends multicookers akin to On the spot Pot, which can be utilized in a wide range of methods, together with gradual cooker and strain cooker, and includes a lid that locks into place till it may be eliminated safely.
Alwan recommends robotic vacuums and flooring washers akin to Roomba as a result of they ease housecleaning. To take care of energy and stability, he factors to interactive house train techniques akin to Mirror. Kamber likes Peloton treadmill techniques for seniors.
“Nothing is foolproof with know-how,” Shilling says. “Having a backup plan is a good suggestion.”
In case of an influence outage, the Galeas’ house system switches to battery backup that lasts for about quarter-hour. If the outage have been longer than that, a generator would run the system.
To people who find themselves hesitant about know-how Emily Galea advises: “Don’t be afraid of it. Don’t say, ‘I can’t.’ Give it a attempt and it’ll develop on you.”
“Begin out with one factor, then whenever you’re snug, step it up a step or two,” she says. “Ultimately you’ll surprise the way you lived with out it. It actually does make an enormous distinction to our consolation, our safety and the best way we stay.”