Perhaps the un-sexiest name for a market sector of all time, the “Aging in Place” biz is nonetheless booming. It’s no secret that the elderly want to stay put rather than become dependent on family, or worse, be moved into assisted living. These days, however, there is new technology flooding the market that allows them to stay safely at home longer. With 78 million baby boomers becoming seniors (age 65) at the rate of 10,000 per day, it’s easy to see why this category is burgeoning. In fact, revenue for the aging-in-place market is poised to surpass $30 Billion by 2017, says a recent study by Semico Research. You can even hire a Certified Aging in Place Specialist to retrofit pop’s home with everything he needs to stay engaged, healthy, and entertained. We’ll be doing more aging-in-place coverage going forward, but for now, here are our top tech gifts for seniors this holiday season.
Rather than just gifting a tech toy to a senior friend, teens are encouraged to actually teach them how to use technology this holiday season via a Grandparents Gone Wired contest recently launched by dosomething.org. The idea is that technology keeps seniors connected to their families and friends, allowing them to ward off the crippling depression that affects more than 6.5 million Americans over 65. By teaching grandparents to use the technology, your gift keeps on giving and contributing to their well-being. Participants can win a $100 Visa Gift Card, to boot.
Caregiver Connect Kit
Caregiver Connect is a great way to stay in touch with your elders remotely and check on seniors at home. The kit features a ‘plug and play’ home controller; secure Internet connectivity; stick-on wireless sensors; custom alerts to keep you informed; and remote access. The technology automatically detects changes in activities via sensors placed around the home and sends data directly to an online portal for viewing and monitoring. You’ll get immediate alerts for urgent or unusual patterns.
Lively gives seniors the independence they need to live at home longer while staying connected with family. Monitoring through sensors is huge for seniors, and like Caregiver Connect, Lively uses activity sensors attached to everyday objects in your loved one’s home to give you feedback on day-to-day patterns. When mom or dad uses the kitchen or when medications are taken, you’ll know. This makes for less worry, and less nagging—a win-win for both seniors and their families. As an added bonus, the senior citizen in your life will also receive two LivelyGrams a month, mailed updates of your family photos, events, and news that help them feel connected.
A one-time cost of $149 includes two months of service. After that, it’s pay-as-you-go for $19.95/month.
Lutron Maestro Occupancy/Vacancy Sensors
Want to help your elders avoid nasty slips and spills from navigating in the dark while also saving energy? Then consider upgrading mom or dad’s light switches to occupancy/vacancy sensors, like these from Lutron.This simple retrofit will mean that your parents or grandparents won’t dangerously fumble around in the dark when they get up to use the bathroom in the middle of the night. Occupancy/vacancy sensors are also ideal for forgetful seniors who accidentally leave lights on when they leave the room, keeping electricity bills down.
This service is a fun way for seniors to reminisce about their lives, connect with loved ones, and record their untold stories for posterity’s sake. Each week, StoryWorth emails subscribers a question about their life. They simply respond and the stories are saved and shared with family members. The first month is free and then it’s $49 a year (or $25 for six months during the holidays).
Home Automation System
Last, but certainly not least, an integrated home automation system is a very elegant solution for those wanting to stay at home during their twilight years. A control system can be customized to reflect your elder’s every particular preference and need. By helping them get started with a home automation system, they will be able to do things like turn all the lights off house-wide from the comfort of their beds via an iPad or a simple wall switch. If they have an alarm they forgot to arm, they can simply touch an icon on the screen. Everything from entertainment to lighting to temperature to security can be connected, and, best yet, monitored remotely. Control4′s integration with HouseLogix VoicePod allows them to speak commands like “turn on the lights” or “turn up the thermostat” and the house will respond accordingly.