If you had said to someone back in the 80s that one day 93% of 16-55 year olds would own a mobile phone in the UK they wouldn’t have believed it. But that’s what’s happened and not only do most adults own a phone – it will be no surprise to anyone that they are using it more and more. On average adults are now on their phone for over 2 hours a day, young people closer to 3 hours!
This demonstrates that the use of smart technology has grown rapidly in our world today. We can expect this to continue to develop in other areas too and here’s where we get to the point of this blog.
We want to look at one area of technology that is causing a buzz in the world today. Smart homes and home automation for assisted living for seniors, or ‘assistive technology’ as its known.
If you’re an architect or property developer interested in the senior living market and you’re hearing more and more in the news about this subject you may be wondering if installing smart tech into your development would be a smart investment. Especially if you’ve done fine before without it! Is this the element that will give your development the edge, indeed, will this even be an expectation of senior homes in the future?
This blog will pull together the latest statistics and research to give you the background knowledge to make a more informed choice.
Are the baby boomers embracing tech?
Its well documented that senior living is a massive growth area for the baby boomers, now in their 70s, but are they ready to embrace technology? The research suggests they are: baby boomers aged 65-74 are increasingly connected, with four in ten (39%) using a smartphone, up 11 percentage points in a year.
This is a real indicator that there are many who are already embracing smart tech and its growing. If it continues to grow at this rate almost everyone in that bracket will own a smartphone within a decade and certainly within the high-end market. Many of us have personal experience of this too. My parents are in this age bracket and not only do they have smartphones but are now branching out with voice-controlled AI and smart lighting. Now they can control their lights by voice and when they are away using their smartphones – I have told them about smart security and now they want that too! As they get older and possibly need more assistance I’m sure they will be comfortable with introducing more smart tech and home automation as it emerges.
What sort of tech is out there?
Here is a list of smart tech that could assist an elderly person in their home:
- Smart Security Cameras
- Smart Locks
- Smart Video Doorbell
- Smart Alarm System
- Smart Smoke Alarms
- Smart Lighting
- Automated Thermostats
- Water and Leak Detection
- Smart Ovens
- Smart Reminders
- Robotic Vacuums
- Robotic Mops
- Smart heart monitors
- Smart Care systems (to detect changes in normal behaviour)
Are ready fitted smart homes already out there?
Fully fitted smart homes are coming onto the market now with the UK’s first smart housing development going up in Milton Keynes .
As yet there are no fully integrated smart senior homes in the UK, so it seems there is a wealth of opportunity here.
In the US there seems to be more developments in this area. In Clarksville, Tennessee, a company unveiled its first ‘smart home for senior living’. Developers say sensors located throughout the cottages will deliver vital health care information to providers, caregivers and emergency personnel around the clock, tracking everything from sleep patterns to medicine dosages to the front door being opened. This is said to be the first of its kind in the US.
In the recent Senior Housing Summit in Los Angeles, Ginna Baik, strategic business development manager for senior care at CDW-Healthcare said: “In the top 100 providers in senior living right now, of those, I’ve probably had a conversation about smart apartments with nearly 80% of them.”
The main developments in the UK are in the public sector where local authorities and the NHS are seeing opportunities to save money with the use of smart devices in the home of the elderly. This year Hampshire County Council provided Amazon Echos to 50 households in need of assistance, both the elderly and disabled. No doubt the private sector in the UK will begin to follow suit.
There are massive opportunities on the horizon
With the rise of the internet, smart homes and home automation are becoming far more widespread. The first purpose-built smart home development in the UK going went on the market this year. These sorts of developments are designed for families and the young and the smart elements of the build are considered a luxury element.
Smart homes for senior living is a whole different market, based on necessity and independence, rather than luxury. The ageing population are becoming more connected and as they become more fragile are likely to turn to smart technology in their homes to support independent living.
Many major providers of senior housing in the US are considering the benefits of developing integrated smart homes.
We see this as an exciting opportunity for architects and property developers in the UK. The technology is ready the demand is only going to rise.
Clearly Automated is an award-winning UK based company – industry leaders in Home Automation, Lighting Control and Lighting Design.