Will Smart Technology Change How Seniors Live?
As an individual ages, their needs change and accommodations must be made to ensure they are living safely. Since many individuals are resilient to move away from home, some companies are promoting smart home technology as a way to allow individuals to age in their own home.
For seniors that are capable of living on their own but still reliant on a caregiver, smart technology lessens their dependence on the caregiver. This is because the caregiver can monitor the activity of the elderly and be comforted to know that the technology is providing them with emergency assistance, fall prevention/detection, and reminder systems. While the technology acts as an aid, it is important to remember that smart technology cannot accommodate the needs of all individuals. It should be seen as a support system that can improve the residents quality of life and physical independence but not replace essential care.
If you are considering a smart home, there are various products that cover a variety of needs. Some of the needs that can be met by smart technology include:
- Physiological Monitoring: Measurements of pulse, respiration & blood pressure
- Functional Monitoring: Measurement of general activities, motion & meal intake
- Safety Monitoring and Assistance: Automatic lighting, strip and fall reduction &hazard detection
- Security Monitoring: Intruder detection
- Social Interaction Monitoring and Assistance: phone calls, video mediated communication & virtual participation in groups
- Cognitive/Sensory Assistance: Medication reminder& lost key locator.
Even though a smart home can provide independence for the aging population, it also poses multiple challenges. First, it can become a financial burden to implement the technology into the home. Secondly, adaptability takes not only time from the caregiver but willingness to learn from the participant.
Lastly, some caregivers that want to implement smart technology into the home may face resistance to the technology from the participant. Despite the technology only collecting the information needed to provide reminders, schedule lights or turn on the heating and cooling system, some may see it as being too obtrusive instead of providing independence.
Ultimately, despite smart technology having the potential to redefine the way the aging population lives today, it's a trend that may take longer to become more popularized. This is because while some seniors may be willing to adopt the technology, others will continue to resist because of their uncertainty of it.