Smart Home Technology to Allow Senior Citizens to Remain Independent

Many of us are at a stage of our lives where we’re worrying about our parents and how they’re getting along alone. Is it time for assisted living? Maybe, but they really want to stay at home and remain independent. But it’s hard for us to rely on them to take care of themselves and their house alone.

While traditionally we go with the old adage that you can’t teach an old dog new tricks, and we think seniors aren’t adapting to the ways technology can be integrated into their lives, a new survey says that isn’t necessarily true, that many of them are adapting and that smart home technology could allow them to remain at home and independent.

Consumer Technology Association Survey Results

While you probably don’t want to go spend a few thousand dollars outfitting your parents’ home just yet with a Nest thermostat, a Roomba, Hue lights, a Ring doorbell, etc., the recent survey by Consumer Technology Association shows that the trend is leaning towards seniors being connected.

By 2022, the survey shows that the market could reach almost $30 billion in sales for overall connected solutions for seniors. That alone is somewhat surprising, but the largest area of sales will be in safety and smart living technologies. That’s expected to triple in size between last year and 2022 to be over $17 billion. So more than half of the overall connected sales for seniors will be in safety and smart living tech.

It’s interesting to see where that figure is coming from: the baby boomers. That huge population that have been followed throughout their whole lives are about to exceed the traditional age for retirement.

According to the survey, one market that looks the most promising for connected seniors is in health and remote care. They’re looking at sales for monitoring blood pressure remotely as well as health care items from Honeywell and Intel-GE. And certainly, you have to think that the Apple Watch factors in here as well.

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To get a clear picture of what seniors will be facing with their connected technology, the survey didn’t just interview them but their caregivers as well, meaning those who are between the ages of 18 to 64 who are caring for a parent or other older relative.

Another area seniors’ connected solutions will reach will be wellness and fitness. That takes us back to the Apple Watch, as well as diet and weight-loss tools, other fitness-tracking devices, and sleep, meditation, pain management, brain health, and hearing monitors. The survey showed that 64 percent of seniors are ready to enter that market, while 61 percent are willing to look into it in order to remain independent.

And, of course, you have to factor in the younger caregivers. They can help encourage the seniors into more connected solutions. Twenty five percent of them are the sole decision-makers for a senior.

The Realities of this Study

While seniors are saying they are willing to consider connected solutions, three-quarters of them say they will need help to make that transition, and about the same number of seniors believe the technology will be too expensive. Additionally, they’re not altogether trusting of technology.

I’ll back up those stats. While my 82-year-old newly-widowed father isn’t even interested in technology, he knows he’d need help if he tried to incorporate it into his life, and I’m sure he believes it’s too expensive and probably doesn’t trust it. But to be able to continue to live alone in his home? He may be willing to try it in combination with caregivers.

Are you a senior or a caregiver of a senior? Do you agree with what this study showed? Share your thoughts and concerns in the comments below.

One comment

  1. Seniors are a perfect market for IoT. However, if we are to believe the endless studies and articles that portray seniors as helpless nincompoops, all IoT will do is to expose them to more scammers, hackers, grifters and other unscrupulous miscreants.

    It is not the technology itself that is the big stumbling block for seniors. It is the security of IoT. Everybody has to learn how to use the IoT devices, even the young whipper-snappers. Nobody is born with the knowledge of how to operate IoT gizmos. The question is how will seniors be able to cope with attacks on their IoT when the young snots have problems.

    My main objection to IoT as it stands today has been and will continue to be its security. Before it is deployed in mission-critical areas, such as hospitals and municipal services, its security must be made bullet-proof. 99% is not good enough. We need cyber security companies to try to put as many nines to the right of the decimal point as possible, the more, the better.

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