Smart home tech can encourage aging in place, experts say

For seniors who may be on the fence about remaining in their homes, smart tech tools could help ease the concern

Broadly speaking, data shows that seniors have a desire to age in place in their own homes rather than opting for other living situations. However, some seniors may still be on the fence about aging in place, and the expanding number of smart home technology tool may be able to help change their minds, according to a recent article from Fortune.

Smart home technology is a growing segment of business for tech giants like Google, Meta, Amazon and Apple, and narrowing down the options can feel daunting for some seniors, according to Steve Ewell, executive director of the Consumer Technology Association Foundation, who spoke to Fortune.

And, that’s where conversations with loved ones about the benefits of smart tech can be beneficial.

“It’s important to talk with your loved one, who may be resistant to technology solutions, and perhaps start small, with something like a video doorbell or basic electronic pill reminder,” Ewell said.

While a variety of smart devices are available on the market, having these conversations can help seniors and their families determine what their aging-in-place concerns are and assist them in identifying the right tools to meet their needs. Some options to discuss could include medication management, home security or susceptibility to falling.

“The most important piece is it’s really understanding the value you’re getting out of installing this piece of technology, because if someone’s not seeing any value from it, then chances are they’re not going to keep using it,” Ewell said.

Seniors have often been labeled as tech-averse when it comes to devices that help manage their finances, and there is a similar stigma related with seniors and home technology, according to Seth Sternberg, co-founder and CEO of Honor home care.

“Many people assume seniors aren’t interested in technology,” Sternberg told Fortune. “But seniors have shown they can adjust to an ever-evolving technology landscape as well as other age groups. Think about what stage a person is at, and what they truly need.”

While aging in place has always been an important part of the conversation between reverse mortgage professionals and borrowers, there are recent indications that it is becoming a broader consideration.

At a 2021 digital event hosted by the Clinton Foundation, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Marcia Fudge told former President Bill Clinton that facilitating aging in place for America’s seniors will be very necessary in the years ahead.

“Everybody wants to take care of their parents, but nobody wants to pay extra taxes to do it,” Fudge said to Clinton at the event. “Nobody wants to let you build an accessory dwelling unit so that you can take care of your aging father; we have to talk about all of those things. And as I get older, of course, aging in place becomes very important.”

In December, a report published by Bank of America found that the majority of older homeowners want to stay where they are as they age.

Gen X and baby boomers make up 70% of the 84.7 million homeowners in the U.S., among which 60% of Gen X’ers and 76% of baby boomers plan to or have retired in the home they already own, according to BofA’s 2022 Homebuyer Insights Report.

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