Smart homes have shown a lot of promise over the years parallel to the rise of seniors contributing to the workforce in droves since 2008. Around 90 percent of older adults reported that they intend to continue living in their own homes for the next five to ten years, found an AARP survey done back in 2012. Exactly 38 percent of seniors aged 65 and older were still in the country’s workforce in 2014, found a 2016 publication ( — Aging in the United States). And that number is projected to rise for 2022 to almost half of the senior population.
As those numbers rise for older Americans, it’s obvious that changes on the domestic level need to take place before the situation becomes unbearable. Seniors want to be able to live independently, and that ought to be the prominent case with seniors if they’re going to be able to work and live as such.
Recent developments in different industries have made it possible for working seniors to do just that. Converging technologies from different sources today can dramatically change the face of an older adult’s way of living. However, if one considers Maslow’s hierarchy of needs – a premise applicable to all human beings – which is illustrated by a pyramid of preconditions for any given person’s fulfillment of self-actualization, it’s clear that the first step for change must be psychological. Trying to convince an older relative that having a remote-controlled thermostat is good for them is a tug of war by itself. And in this failure to be receptive, they block themselves from ever modernizing their home to accommodate new technologies supportive of their mobility and independence.
After the psychological level comes ‘safety’, then ‘love or belonging’, followed by ‘esteem’ and finally ‘self-actualization’. All are relative terms but relevant to a senior’s enjoyment and fulfillment. It’s a bit philosophical but bear with the thought, the process looks something like this: after the psychological readiness towards modern solutions has been established, the senior’s safety needs can then be met, creating an environment more supportive of their feeling of belonging, opening the door to the improvement of their esteem and realizing of their self-actualization.
Assuming the psychological groundwork is ready in a senior, they can turn to the transformative solutions that smart homes offer. What constitutes a smart home is a combination of all the components of day-to-day living made to operate more conveniently and effortlessly with the help of modern technology like smartphone app-controlled lighting, thermostats, appliances, home security systems, mobility equipment, intercoms, and entertainment units.
Google Home and the Amazon Echo (Alexa) are voice-activated smart speakers that make having to get up from a comfortable chair or wheelchair to switch on/off the lights obsolete. For people who are blind, they present a transformation in the way they choose to conduct their daily lives. The possibilities are reopened to a degree never before seen even with non-blind homeowners. Virtually every web-enabled device in an older adult’s home can be controlled by a voice command.
For the first time this year, Amazon has cut Echo Dot’s price down by incorporating 3 of it in one deal at $20 down.
The Pros and Cons of Smart Homes can be summed up in this article published 3 weeks ago on Burglary.com. Seniors don’t just enjoy more control over their home’s key electronics, climate and appliances, they can expect to reduce their energy costs by 10 to 15 percent and gain higher protection in medical emergencies and home invasions.
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