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Unexpected Home Improvements for Seniors Aging in Place

May 31, 2018

Growing older without having to move to a healthcare environment is a viable choice for many seniors today. With the implementation of a few home-based tech tools and changes in their setting to optimize functionality, seniors can age in place independently. Here are some tech strategies and innovative home improvements that can support seniors living at home.

Tech strategies

Smartphones, laptops, and tablets are now made with large-font keyboards, brightly-lit displays that are easy to navigate, and easy-to-use interfaces that take the guesswork out of technology. At the very least, seniors should invest in basic technology to stay abreast of news and weather, play their favorite games, and keep in touch with family.

Google Home and Amazon Echo can help with answering questions, playing music, delivering a recent news briefing, and more, with voice commands. They can also control switches, lights, and thermostats as long as they're connected. The smart speaker learns preferences and voice tone over time for a personalized experience.

A robot vacuum such as Neato or Roomba will come in handy for those who may have difficulty pushing around a vacuum cleaner. From pet hair to crumbs, it works perfectly for picking up messes on all floor types. It's easy to use and more affordable than a cleaning service.

The Nest Learning Thermostat is a smart thermostat that learns habits and preferences. It will build a profile in its memory by recording what degree of temperature is preferred, then it uses the profile to manage the heat and air conditioning in your home. Nest aims to conserve energy and help you save money on electric bills. It can also be controlled from your smartphone. 

Nest also makes a smoke detector that is connected to technology. The smoke detector can tell you exactly what is wrong and the location of the smoke. Seniors can rest assured knowing they will be alerted on their mobile device when something is wrong.

Innovative home improvements

With age comes declining mobility, so ensuring that there is plenty of space to move around is key for safety and comfort. Widening entryways and pathways and removing unnecessary furniture will create an unencumbered space. Also, removing dangerous elements on the floor such as rugs and cords can lessen the likelihood of a slip or fall. 

Well-lit homes will reduce the chances of an accident. Create more light sources such as portable LED light switches that can be placed in any location of the home. Window treatments such as blinds, that allow for privacy, but can be opened to allow in natural light, are also a good choice.

Safety in the bathroom should be a high priority. Water from the bath or shower can create hazardous conditions for seniors to slip or fall. Options such as non-slip vinyl adhesive strips, traction-style peel and stick guards, and patterned tread tape can help keep the area safe. Grab style bars will create a safety anchor and a comfort height toilet will create less strain on the body.

By implementing a few basic in-home measures and taking advantage of available technology, seniors can live vibrant lives within the comfort of their own homes. 

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