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Thursday, September 22, 2016

Ninety-five percent of seniors state they wish to remain at home, and innovations in technology have assisted them in making that wish come true.Universal design, smart housing technology, remote safety with health monitoring, and community-based services for seniors are just a few of the initiatives extending their ability to remain at home.

Smart House TechnolgyUNIVERSAL DESIGN

Handicap-friendly homes were once unattractive and frankly, a turnoff to most people, even those needing adaptations. Universal housing design now offers aesthetically pleasing options that are inherently accessible. Mindful that today’s consumer who wants attractive housing may become tomorrow’s frail adult who requires accessibility, universal designers create homes with few physical impediments, such as stairs: When doorways and traffic patterns are established, completely mobile individuals are considered along with those who use assistive devices; kitchens and bathrooms are roomy enough for a 360 degree turn; lever handles are installed, which are easier for arthritic hands to grab than traditional round door knobs; manufacturers now produce “designer” grab bars that look less institutional; comfort height toilets, previously known as handicapped toilets, are now commonplace. Universal design creates a forever home for seniors who experience physical limitations.


Smart housing can lengthen a senior’s ability to remain at home. Home automation often brings to mind a young person who desires the latest gadgets; however, some seniors utilize smart housing to enable them to remain at home while being monitored by a local adult child. Many items can be controlled electronically, alleviating worries such as:Is the refrigerator full? Is the heat/air at an appropriate temperature?Is mom or dad up and moving around? Some smart housing technology even allows for remote monitoring of heart rate and blood pressure. In addition, some clinics perform remote monitoring of health vitals over a telephone line, easing the difficulty of finding transportation when the older adult does not drive.


Speaking of transportation, Uber has become an important ride service for seniors. At one time, it was quite a hardship for seniors who no longer drove to retain the services of a personal driver. Uber is a personal driver on-call. Uber services to seniors have been so robust that in 2015, Uber Assist was launched in several cities as a pilot to serve the senior population. Most recently, Uber has joined with grandPad for a user-friendly access to transportation services.

Home-delivered meals, visiting and parish nurse programs, and many other community-based services compliment one’s ability to remain at home. Access to Uber creates a greater level of freedom to access all area services.But, as technology, construction, and community services increase one’s ability to remain at home, where does that leave senior housing? We’ll talk about that in next week’s blog.

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