More than 60% of Baby Boomers plan to stay in their homes as they age.

Published by GolfShire Homes #LivingLifeToATee
Smart home tech can improve the quality of life for baby boomers and empty-nesters by ensuring they keep their independence and enjoy living at home rather than being pressed to consider some kind of care facility.

Baby Boomers account for nearly half of all spending on home improvement projects nationwide and when they undertake a project they invest “for keeps.” More than 60% of Baby Boomers plan to stay in their homes as they age, so with that expectation in mind, they tend to pay a little more to get high-quality materials and to get the best workmanship. An analysis by Zelman and Associates shows that, even after the kids move out, most empty-nest parents want to remain in a single-family home.

This refutes the axiom that empty-nesters always seek to downsize. As a matter of fact, many empty-nesters are deciding to reconfigure space within the same home, and have space available for the kids (and grandkids) when they come to visit. When these people put money into a home improvement project, they invest with a long time horizon in mind, and that can include putting in features that will provide ease of accessibility and convenience as they age.

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Installing Smart Home Tech Can Ease Life while Aging

A recent survey of home service professionals undertaken by HomeAdvisor, and authored by Marianne Cusato, found that two-thirds (67 percent) of homeowners over age 55 believe smart-home technology could help them age in place, yet fewer than 1 in 5 (19 percent) have actually considered installing it for such purposes.

Adult children of aging boomers are increasingly empowering and protecting their parents. A recent study by Xfinity found that one in five consumers who bought smart-home technology did so with the motivation to assist in providing care for elderly parents. People in their thirties and forties with aging parents are often buying the most cutting-edge systems for their parents which substantially accelerates the adoption of the less familiar smart technologies by the retiree group.

Smart security systems, connected sensors, and a multitude of other smart home devices can address many common challenges of aging, helping seniors stay safer and healthier in their homes for longer. By equipping our homes with this type of smart tech today, it's possible to create a space we can live in for (almost) all our tomorrows.

Here, we look at four smart home technologies you can install in your home whether you are a baby boomer who is getting a bit older, an empty-nester or just interested in creating a safer home environment for yourself and your family.

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The Smart Home Hub

If you’re new to smart technology, then you may not yet realize that before you can start benefiting from most individual smart home products, you need to purchase a product that will get them all on the same system.

For seniors who may be uncomfortable with the idea of figuring out a large number of different apps, getting a smart home assistant like Amazon Echo or Google Home will give you one product you can link all your other smart tech back to and make voice control an option for most of the products you buy.

For many seniors, being able to turn a product on and off with voice commands will be more intuitive and useful than having to find their phone, identify the right app on it and make the change through the app every time they need to use the product.

Take some time to do your research here and consider the other types of products you’ll want and the compatible options for each before making your decision.

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Smart Home Sensors

Many families struggle with finding the right balance between giving an aging senior their independence and still making sure they get the level of care they need. Smart home sensors are a tool that can help stretch the length of time seniors can live on their own, while giving loved ones a way to keep tabs and make sure they stay safe.

Smart home sensors for seniors often have a component that makes it easy for the senior to call for help if there’s an emergency. They typically also provide a way to track ongoing activities like how often the senior moves through certain rooms or opens the refrigerator, in order to give loved ones a quick indication if their daily habits change. That way, if your loved one starts to experience depression or an illness that keeps them from being as active as usual or eating a healthy amount, you get an early notice that’s something’s awry that you should look into.

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Smart Lights

Falls are the number one cause of injury in seniors. One-third of seniors fall every year and 2.3 million of them end up in the emergency room because of a fall. It’s a serious issue.

One way you can reduce your parent or senior loved one’s risk of a fall is to make sure good lighting is installed throughout their home and that they can always easily turn on a light from wherever they are. For that last part, that means never having to walk across a dark room to get to the light switch.

Smart lights can be turned on with a smartphone app or, if connected to a smart home assistant, with a voice command. Having an easy way to turn on the light before getting up from the couch or getting out of bed at night — without having to stumble toward an inconveniently placed switch — can make a big difference to how safe a senior is when moving through their own home after dark.

Make sure that when you are setting up smart lights for your loved one, you program them with voice commands that will be easy to remember and then train your loved one on what exactly they need to say. Remember to address “Alexa” or “Google” before each command and to use the right voice command for the specific room.

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Smart Medication Dispensers

It’s unfortunate that the time in life when you’re likely to need the most medication is also the time in life when your memory’s most likely to fail. Seniors frequently have a number of meds they have to try and remember to take at specific times throughout the day and often the stakes are high. Forgetting to take a particular pill, or taking one at the wrong time when it could interact badly with another, could lead to serious health complications.

Smart medication dispensers like MedMinder and Reminder Rosie automate the process of getting the right pills to your loved one at the right time, every day. Some smart medication products will also alert you if your loved one fails to take a med at the right time so you can step in and contact them directly about it.

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Smart Stove Shutoff

You don’t have to have an aging brain or dementia diagnosis to forget to turn off the oven from time to time. It’s easy to do and potentially really dangerous! That’s why one of the most useful smart tech items for seniors, especially any senior that likes to cook, is a smart stove shutoff device.

There are a number of smart stove shutoff products that will automatically turn the stove off if it’s been left on for too long. Some work by using a simple timer (after a certain amount of time, it goes off), some provide more sophisticated features like an automatic shutoff that’s triggered when the smoke alarm goes off, a motion detector that senses when you’re in the room and phone alerts letting you know when the stove’s been on for a while.

Whichever product you go with, installing a smart stove shutoff device can keep your loved one’s home safer, even as they continue cooking their favorite foods.

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The Bottom Line

These are exciting times for seniors in terms of smart technology and reassuring times if you have an elderly relative you don’t want to see head off to a nursing home.

Smart home tech can improve the quality of life for baby boomers and empty-nesters by ensuring they keep their independence and enjoy living at home rather than being pressed to consider some kind of care facility.

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