By the year 2035, trends show that one in three households will be occupied by owners aged 65 and older. The vast majority of these people have no plans to move to a retirement community, and want to stay right in their homes. In order for America’s generation of aging baby boomers to stay independent, they will need help from friends, family, and even technology. Simple tasks like moving around the house, and minor chores become more difficult with age, but technology promises a solution to aid the elderly without stripping their freedom. From simple tasks like using motion detectors to turn on lights, to delivery services to replace running errands – there’s a bright future ahead for an aging America.
One Staircase at a Time
Perhaps one of the most common reasons that seniors move out of their house involves the difficulty they experience trying to climb multiple flights of stairs. As we age, physical challenges like climbing grow more difficult once our bodies start to break down. Technology such as a stairlift can keep seniors mobile inside a multi-storey home. Installation is usually completed by the company, it’s fast, and operating the lift is incredibly simple. Using a piece of tech like this can save older people from the strains of walking up and down the stairs dozens of times per day – preserving their legs and back in the process.
Reduce the Clutter
In order to take advantage of the benefits that technology can offer, it’s important to do some housekeeping first. A simple, yet effective way to make the home easier to navigate involves a little cleaning. A life well-lived often means acquiring a lot of stuff, which can quickly fill up every nook and cranny in the home. In order to reduce the risk of a fall and give seniors more control of their home environment, reducing unneeded clutter can open up the home and provide safe lanes to move about. Employ the help of younger people (kids or grandkids) to help rearrange and organize the space to keep it hazard-free. Keeping with the technological trend, mobile apps can provide organizational tips, and even home services to help with the oftentimes tall task of decluttering the home. Finding ways to reduce the risk of a fall at home helps seniors stay healthy, and in turn, more independent. Allowing for more floor space to move about is a great first step
Send in the Calvary
The new trend sweeping the internet involves ride-sharing apps. Primarily used by young, tech-savvy millennials, apps like Lyft and Uber may actually have the most value for seniors who can no longer drive themselves. For a small fee, anyone with the app can order a car to show up to their location in minutes, and drive them to wherever they need to go. For the elderly, this means that running errands at the store, visiting friends and family, and even a spontaneous adventure are all possible at any time. The companies behind these apps are increasingly vetting drivers and making their service safer for the elderly to use. In addition to these apps, major online corporations like Amazon offer home-delivery services for groceries and common household items – thus eliminating the need for seniors to venture outside unless they want to.
While much of the technology available to help seniors live independently are still in their infancy, there’s no doubt that improvements will continue to be made. And more efficient ways of keeping seniors mobile and their homes accessible will be developed in the near future. It’s incredibly important for elderly, or soon to be elderly people to take advantage of the benefits that this technology has to offer. The alternative to living in an assisted-living environment pales in comparison to the freedom that modern technology offers.