Tech can help seniors stay in their homes longer

January 5, 2016 · Print This Article

The end goal of technology is to make our lives easier – and retirement is no exception. There are a multitude of technological innovations that can help current retirees stay in their homes longer, and more in the pipeline that will help future retirees.

One of the primary reasons that seniors move into rest homes is to have around-the-clock supervision and medical care. For reasonably fit seniors without any major medical issues, this expensive move is not necessary given that technology exists that can do the same thing, giving loved ones and seniors both peace of mind.

Plus, as Canadians get older, many will be less resistant to technology. At the beginning of 2015, Statistics Canada reported that 36% of Canadian seniors were using social media, and that number will only go up in the years to come. The incentive of seeing pics of grandkids is a pretty large one for any grandparent, as is staying on top of investments.

Keeping homes safer

Most modern alarm systems go beyond just triggering a call to police if a burglar tries to break into the house. They can incorporate fire alarms, carbon monoxide sensors, and temperature controls, all of which can send alerts to a mobile phone if triggered. Contact any alarm company to find out about their full suite of services.

Medical alarms

Alarm companies make use of their networks to offer medical alert and alarm systems, which are usually sold as a separate suite of products, or as an add-on to an existing alarm system. Many feature wearable devices which can automatically make a call to an ambulance if a fall is detected, and a call button which allows the owner to make a call to the company’s response centre if they start experiencing medical symptoms.

24-hour in-home surveillance

If your family is concerned about your well-being, and a medical alert system isn’t enough for them, you can also have video cameras installed in the house which are accessible from any computer or smartphone. These systems are often tied to a security system with all of the benefits listed above.

Wearable technology

While your smartphone and wearables like the Apple Watch can already monitor heart rate, blood pressure, hypertension and other vitals (using the appropriate apps), there are purpose-built wearables that can track additional medical information. The BPro can provide an around-the-clock record of blood pressure and fluctuations, while the FitBit can provide health and fitness information. These sorts of wearables will only increase in the future as technology advances, with prototypes in place that will monitor foot health for diabetics in a pair of socks, and a wearable device that tells you when you need to go to the bathroom.

Sensors to track health and movement are already in place in some rest homes. So why pay for a move to a rest home when you can have the same technology in place in your own home?

Smart refrigerators and grocery home delivery

Smart refrigerators are already on the market that can maintain an inventory of items in the fridge and alert you to when levels are getting low. Newer models can even detect spoilage and feature large touchscreens on the front, so you won’t need to open it to see what is inside – just check your smartphone or the fridge’s touchscreen.

Once inventory levels have been determined as low, seniors can use a number of grocery delivery services to have their groceries delivered rather than making a trip to the store – a huge bonus during harsh Canadian winters, when seniors are more likely to slip and fall on snow and ice. With online shopping, other necessary items can be delivered as well, making a trip to the store only necessary if you feel like it, rather than when you have to.

If you want to trick out your home with the latest technology to keep yourself safe and your retirement easier, but don’t have the funds, consider a reverse mortgage. Horizon Equity can help you make it happen – contact us today for more information.