As more seniors aspire to age in place in their own homes, advancements in smart home technology could be a big help with reaching these goals, according to a Toronto Star article on how technology is changing the prospects for aging in place.
Many of the same smart home technology platforms — Amazon’s Alexa, the Google Assistant and Apple’s Siri — are available across both Canada and the United States, which means the crossover is very high, especially considering that the majority of both older Canadians and Americans prefer to remain in their own homes as they age.
“According to Vividata, Canada is home to more than 7.1 million people age 65 and older, of which Ontario accounts for almost 2.7 million,” the article states. “Of those, nearly 2.2 million live at home, or about 81.5%.”
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the United States is home to 56 million people aged 65 or older, and research from the Urban Institute projects that the population of such Americans will increase to 80 million by 2040.
In addition, a report published in December found that the majority of older homeowners want to stay where they are as they age. Generation X and baby boomers make up 70% of the 84.7 million homeowners in the U.S., and 60% of Gen X’ers and 76% of baby boomers plan to or have retired in the home they already own, according to the report.
Canada’s leading reverse mortgage lender, HomeEquity Bank, told the Star that home equity can provide a big boost for seniors who want to age in place. Smart home technology can also assist seniors in daily tasks and help their loved ones find peace of mind.
“From wearable monitors and smart speakers to wireless sensors and medication dispensers, several technologies for the home are available to older people,” the article states.
Electronics retailer Best Buy has service called Best Buy Health, which is available across the U.S. and Canada and is designed to offer tech-based solutions for the needs of older people. This includes tailored installation services for older users to assist in getting a smart home up and running.
“Seniors can have their tech installed by someone else who can also explain its use,” said Mathew Wilson, senior communications specialist at Best Buy Canada to the Star. In terms of the peace of mind of loved ones, different devices can assist in providing it.
“Activity-based sensors around the home can discreetly reassure family or contacts that mom or dad is going about their regular, daily activities,” the article states. “Cameras, installed with the consent of the resident, are also an effective way to keep a virtual eye on loved ones living alone. Video calls can also be effective in gauging how your senior is doing.”