It can be hard to imagine what retirement years will look like when the time comes. One thing that is clear is that we’ll want to “age in place” – that is, remain at home – for as long as we can.
Only about seven percent of Ontario seniors require long-term care. Many of the rest rely on aids to assist with daily tasks and activities. Well-designed technology plays a role in making aging in place as easy and comfortable as possible.
AGE-WELL, a national aging and technology network, has come up with some surprising tweaks to commercially available smart technology making them more helpful to seniors. One system relies on home security technology to prevent disoriented seniors from getting lost. Rather than working to prevent someone from breaking into a home, it protects against some escaping.
Wandering is a symptom of cognitive decline. It can be triggered in the middle of the night when going to the bathroom. Some become disoriented and don’t know what time it is or where they are. The problem is worse for seniors who have recently relocated after living independently. They don’t recognize their surroundings as home so leave to try to get back home. Using a motion sensor to turn on the bathroom light can help them to reorient. Sensors on front and back doors notify someone if they attempt to leave.
AGE-WELL offers resources, education and training to promote healthy aging in Canada. For more information, visit their website at http://agewell-nce.ca.