Why and how technology is helping more people stay in their homes longer and age in place.
"Technology is the new assisted living," says Lisa Cini.
Cini, who has been designing assisted living facilities for some 25 years, is also the author of the forthcoming book, BOOM: The Baby Boomers Guide to Leveraging Technology, and founder of the retail website, Best Living Tech.
Through her firm, Mosaic Design Studio, Cini's mission is to create comfortable and functional spaces for senior living, long-term care, and health care institutions across the country.
But Cini acknowledges that most people would much prefer to age in place—living in their own home.
Indeed, according to Laurie Orlov, founder of Aging In Place Technology Watch, 80 percent of older adults today do live in their own homes, with one-third of those 65 and over and more than 46 percent of those 75 and older living alone.
The desire for independence and the sense of well-being that comes from living in familiar surroundings are driving forces in wanting to age in place, but safety and security issues are significant causes for concern, both for older adults and their family members.
To allay those fears and meet the needs of seniors and their caregivers, investment in the mature market is increasing, especially in the field of technology. The recent Consumer Electronics Show, sponsored by the Consumer Technology Association, featured senior-friendly technology, including
- Watches that offer a professionally-monitored personal emergency response system
- Wireless earbuds that evaluate the user's hearing
- Artificial intelligence platforms with such features as motion- and fall-detection
- Robots that can schedule and coordinate activities, such as family get-togethers, medical appointments and social activities
- Home security cameras with facial recognition software, so homeowners can create a gallery of trusted visitors
- The Sleep Number 360™ smart bed from Sleep Number Corporation (NASDAQ:
SNBR), which gives a glimpse into the future of health and wellness by doing everything from identifying and warning of a heart
attack to detecting sleep apnea. The bed's biometric sleep
tracking technology and comprehensive sleep database are laying the foundation
for an effortless sleep and health platform.
“We envision a future where higher quality sleep transforms consumers' health and wellness," said Shelly Ibach, Sleep Number president and chief executive officer. “Sleep Number's 360 smart bed's robust SleepIQ technology platform integrates sleep science, sophisticated biometrics, and artificial intelligence to provide effortless adjustability and tangible improvements to their health."
Apps for caregivers can provide well-being updates, help manage care, and send alerts if the sensor picks up on changes in activity or eating patterns.
Innovation in senior-living technology is not stopping there. Research institutions like the MIT AgeLab and the Oregon Center for Aging & Technology are challenging technology developers and entrepreneurs to develop solutions and products that will transform the landscape of senior care.
Home monitoring devices and software, for example, will be able to relay your vital signs to your doctor. Skype will no longer just be a convenient way to see the grandkids, but will connect patients to their health care professional, helping them avoid an expensive or inconvenient office visit.
"Technology is giving us the confidence and security to remain in our homes as we age, which is what most of us want to do," says Cini.
Quality sleep will keep you performing your best. Like diet and exercise, sleep is essential for optimal health and performance. Because everyone's sleep needs are different, Sleep Number beds adjust to your ideal level of firmness, comfort and support, and have a 25-year limited warranty.** Find your Sleep Number® setting for your best possible night's sleep.
**2-Year Limited Warranty on SleepIQ® technology. Warranties available at sleepnumber.com.