February 23, 2014
I want to focus today on the growing trend of older adults wanting to age in place – in their own home. Not surprisingly, the majority of older adults would like to stay in their home of choice. The content of this blog is written and published by Laurie M. Orlov, a principal analyst at Aging in Place Technology Watch. To read the complete research CLICK HERE
AGING IN PLACE: AN EXPECTATION AND A TECHNOLOGY MARKET
“Before the tech revolution, the village took care of you. Now it is an electronic village.”
The desire to live at home dominates the minds of baby boomers who are becoming seniors (age 65) at the rate of 10,000 per day, and that desire is reshaping the markets that provide products and services to them. Further, after the 2011 housing market crisis, many who would move to more appropriate settings did not. Within that context, aging in place reflects the ability to successfully age and remain in one’s home of choice, whether it is a private home, condo, apartment, or group home. The technology to enable this is so important now – versus years from now. That’s because:
- Successful aging means independence
- Cost of long-term care is ever more daunting
- Care capacity will reach crisis proportions
What Does It Take to Successfully Age in Place?
More than a third of those aged 65+ live alone. Many of the adult children of today’s oldest seniors worry with good reason about their parents – and struggle with them over whether they should be living on their own. And the National Institute for Nursing Research states that “one third of informal caregiving occurs at a distance with family members coordinating provision of care, maintenance of independence, and socialization for frail elders living at home.” What do these families need?
- Better communication
- Improved safety and monitoring
- Greater focus on wellness and prevention
- More opportunity to participate in society
Aging in Place Spans a Triangle of Relationships
A critical enabler for aging in place is a working set of relationships and communication between seniors, their families (both caregiver and long distance) or proxy caregivers, and providers of services to seniors and their families. This triangle of relationships should be reinforced with smart use of technology to enhance communication, but today suffers from one-sided, weak or no connections: these are too ad-hoc, too phone- or paper-based, too labor-intensive, and too narrowly conceived.
TECHNOLOGY FOR AGING IN PLACE TODAY – ENABLED RELATIONSHIPS
Successful aging and remaining at home can be substantially improved today by simply sharing information and creating linkages between participants. Consider this scenario made possible with technologies that exist and can be mixed, matched, purchased or used today.
Four Aging in Place Technology Categories Have Emerged
The above scenario isn’t wishful thinking – it can be done today. These technologies promise to help tighten and grow care provider relationships, improving the ability to age more successfully, remain at home longer and more safely, and better weather change over time