Is your home as accessible and as user-friendly for you as it can be? As we age, our homes can present new challenges. Some simple accessibility home projects are to change door knobs to levered door handles, adding hand railings at tubs and showers, and eliminating thresholds under doors. This is called “aging in place” and is a term used to describe a person living in the residence of their choice for as long as they are able. Some concerns to consider are:
• If mobility issues come into play
• Your social network can shrink
• If cooking, cleaning, and bathing becomes difficult
• Basic safety is a concern
According to a survey by the AARP, 73-percent of people over 45 plans to retire in their current residence as opposed to a nursing home or other institution. Forty-one percent plan to stay in their homes until age 81 or older. So, making homes safe and accessible is an essential and primary objective of aging in place projects and technology is a crucial component. Some smart home technologies suggested by home adviser are;
• Smart Locks: Smart locks have Wi-Fi enabled locks that allow you to lock or unlock doors remotely, receive alerts when someone enters your home and share virtual keys with friends and family. You can also integrate smart locks into your smart-home security system to automatically lock your doors each night.
• Smart Home Security: A monitored smart security system will give you peace of mind
while you’re at home or away on vacation. You can also integrate extra features like smart fire
alarms and leak detectors into your smart home security system to increase your home’s safety.
• Smart Lighting: Set the mood for a dinner party, automate timers to light up your home
while you’re away on vacation or schedule your exterior lights to come on at night. You can also
sync your smart lighting with voice-activated devices to help prevent falls, bumps and other
accidents that are common at night or in dark rooms.
• Smart Sensors: Sensors track homeowners’ movements and look for stumbles or extended
periods of stillness —which could indicate a medical emergency. Some smart sensors can also
relay information to family members or other loved ones outside of the home.
• Voice-Activation Devices: Voice-activated devices give you hands-free control of your
home. Adjust your thermostat while carrying a load of laundry, turn on the lights in your
bathroom without leaving your bed, even text your shopping or to-do lists to yourself — all
without lifting a finger.
• Smart Appliances: Smart-home appliances allow you to create shopping lists in real time, monitor oven temperatures from your smartphone — even schedule an automatic vacuum to clean your floors once a week. Some smart refrigerators also allow you to view their contents remotely.
• Smart Thermostat: Smart thermostats adjust your home’s temperature according to your schedule and preferences. Most smart thermostats also come with a companion app that lets you remotely adjust temperatures, receive alerts and analyze your energy usage
Here are some resources for you to consider; the National Aging in Place Council http://www.ageinplace.org/ and HomeAdvisor, Inc. https://www.homeadvisor.com/ for ideas. This all can be designed into your home beautifully, and there are design experts for “aging in place” such as Mitzi Beach: http://beboomersmart.com/ who can develop these elements into your home. With a bit of planning and work, you can comfortably age in place in your home.