Learn what smart-home technologies and services you need to live healthier and happier at home.
Most seniors want to remain at home as they age versus living in a care facility or nursing home. The problem is that health and safety issues can interfere with that plan. Fortunately, there are a variety of new services and state-of-the-art tools that can enable seniors to live safely and happily at home. From GPS-enabled smartwatches that detect falls to home care, new technologies can help seniors age in place and provide peace-of-mind to family members and caregivers. What’s more, is that many of these services and tools are substantially less expensive than assisted living or a nursing home. The most important thing when it comes to ageing in place is choosing the right technologies and services for your needs. Here is a step-by-step guide to help you get started.
Identify Your Needs
Before you choose any services or technologies, you must identify your needs. What are you or your loved one’s needs? Do you need help getting to doctor’s appointments? Can you perform basic toiletry independently or do you require assistance? Are you a fall risk? Here are some questions to help you identify your specific needs:
Can You Get Around Your Home Safely?
If your bathroom or bedroom is located upstairs, can you get to it safely? If not, can you modify your home by converting a room on the bottom floor to a bedroom or bathroom? Can you get around safely in your home? Here are some home modifications that can help provide independence and safety:
- Grab bars. Grab bars can make going to the bathroom a lot safer. They can also help you get in and out of the shower.
- Wheelchair ramps. A wheelchair ramp helps you make entrances more accessible if you use a walker, scooter or wheelchair.
- Zero-entry showers. Installing a shower with a low or no threshold can help make showering a lot easier.
- Raised toilet seat. Raised toilet seats provide a bit of extra assistance getting on and off the toilet. These are helpful for people with knee or hip problems.
- Lift chair. If you have trouble going from a seated to a standing position, a lift chair can help. This chair features a mechanism that pushes the chair up from its base.
- Smarthome technology. Smart home technology can make it easier to get around the home. Products like Phillips Smart Lighting can help seniors customize interior lighting to meet individual needs. This lighting can be used to communicate hallways for easier navigation to the bathroom at night, mimic natural lighting to improve sleep and make it easier to discriminate between different colours. Smart doors locks and security systems help ensure safety and security. These systems can send instant notifications to family and caregivers when a door is opened. Smart safety outlets, like the Simple Touch C3000, are very inexpensive and can automatically turn off irons and other devices after use.
Do You Have Access To Transportation?
If you live at home, you will need to consider how you will continue to get to doctor’s appointments, grocery stores and to social events. One of the best ways to access transportation if you no longer drive is with hourly home care. With hourly care, you can get rides to doctor’s appointments, social events and more on an as-needed basis. This is a cost-effective and safe way to continue with your regular daily activities.
How Will You Receive Regular Medical Care?
Regular health care is essential if you plan to live at home. Preventative care is one key to staying well and so is regular care for chronic conditions. How will you receive preventative care? One option is through affordable telehealth services. These services can allow you to have appointments with doctors, nurses and behavioural health specialists right in the comfort of your own home whenever you need it. You receive one-on-one care with a health specialist via a live video chat that you access via a web portal. Telehealth can help you take care of your health easily without even leaving your home.
What if you or your loved one has had a stroke, cancer or Parkinson’s disease? Specialized care can help provide 24/7 care for people with these serious illnesses — right in the comfort of home.
How Much Help Do You Need With Daily Activities?
Can you shower and toilet independently? Do you need help preparing meals or cleaning your home? How will you get your medications every day? Many seniors require some assistance with these services. Being able to successfully manage these daily tasks is one of the keys to living at home safely. The good news is that it is possible to get help performing these activities while remaining as independent as possible. Daily or hourly home care is a cost-effective way to get a little extra help. Home care aides can assist with bathing, grooming, house cleaning, shopping and other daily tasks. You can get us a little or as much help as you need. Care aids also provide companionship and community engagement to help ward off loneliness and social isolation.
How Will You Get Help In An Emergency?
If you plan to remain at home independently, then you must consider how you will get help in an emergency. The fact is that falls are the top cause of hospitalizations for injuries among Canadian seniors. Every year, approximately 20 to 30 percent of all seniors have at least one fall.1 A variety of things make seniors more susceptible to falls, including medications, illnesses, gait problems, low vision and cognitive impairments. Because bone density decreases with age, seniors are more likely to experience broken bones and other issues with a fall. It is important for seniors to get medical attention immediately after a fall. The longer one stays on the ground after a fall, the higher the risk of serious injury and mortality. The mortality rate from a fall is approximately 67 percent when a person is immobile for 72 hours after a fall. If the person gets help within one hour after falling, that rate falls to 12 percent.2 Fortunately, there are lots of smart home devices and other services that can help you get help in an emergency. Here are some options.
- Medical alert devices.
- Fall detection.
- Daily home care.
- Technology that identifies changes in daily patterns.
Nursing care is no longer inevitable for seniors. The above services and technologies can help you or your loved one live a happier, more independent life at home. To learn How we can help you live independently at home, contact us today.