91% of seniors surveyed stated a preference to remain in their own homes as they age in a study conducted by The Global Social Enterprise Initiative of the Georgetown University McDonough School of Business in conjunction with Phillips Healthcare. This is a natural tendency because of the emotional attachment to our vine covered cottage/home where we’ve lived for up to 30 years and raised our families. In addition the equity in our personal residence is often a major part of our financial security.
On the other hand, 59% said that they were NOT interested in upgrading their home to assist with positive aging! 33% indicated that it would be “too costly” to retrofit their house or apartment to allow necessary mobility and provide the other support necessary to remain safely in their existing housing situation. Less than 10% of the respondents plan to “pay whatever it takes to stay in their own homes as they age.”
The past decade has seen the development of significant technological advances in the so-called “smart home” that could be beneficial in enabling an aging adult to stay in their home for a longer period of time before considering a move into a structured senior living community. Various technology devices (e.g. automatic stove-top shutoffs) provide additional security and peace-of-mind for the senior and/or their adult children. Yet, only about half of the surveyed individuals plan to adopt this smart technology in their homes. Of those declining to consider the use of this technology, 23% said that they “don’t even know where to start” with 42% stating that it is “too expensive.” The remaining 25% just said they weren’t interested.
MySeniorPortal.com periodically identifies smart technologies and other home improvements to enable adults to age successfully and connects subscribers with the providers that offer these services.
We know that 1 in 3 individuals over 65 will suffer a fall each year. These falls may necessitate a hospital stay and a rehabilitation or long term care stay during recovery from strains or broken bones. Unfortunately, a fall is often the precursor of a general decline in a senior’s health, forcing them to consider living options other than their own “home”.
We also know that older people tend to have more difficulty in sleeping and frequently get up at some time during the night to visit the bathroom. This is a prime time for a debilitating fall.
One example of smart home technology that could minimize these risks is a passive monitoring device that detects when the senior gets up out of their bed. That device then alerts a series of knee-height mounted LED lights that turn on to illuminate the path to the toilet. The senior (even one with a tendency to get “confused”) doesn’t have to turn on a series of lights (and get “blinded” by the bright light in the middle of the night), the light is directed to the floor, which minimizes the risk of tripping, and the light pattern guides them to the toilet – thus reducing the incidence of incontinence!
Smart technology and other home improvements and modifications can facilitate your ability to age-in-place in your current home.