As the cost of long-term care increases, many Americans are discovering that aging is expensive. Could smart home technology make aging in place feasible for you?
The Cost of Long-Term Care
Research from Genworth shows that the world’s population is aging at a faster rate than ever before. At the same time, people are living longer than ever.
Roughly 10,000 Baby Boomers will turn 65 every day between now and 2030. Approximately 7 out of every 10 will require some type of long-term care. But unless you’ve dealt with an aging parent before, you’re probably unaware of just how expensive long-term care is. These national averages should give you an idea of how expensive the landscape is.
- $225 per day, or $6,844 per month, for a semi-private room in a nursing home.
- $253 per day, or $8,698 per month, for a private room in a nursing home.
- $119 per day, or $3,628 per month, for care in an unassisted living facility.
- $20.50 per hour for a home health aide.
- $20 an hour for homemaker services.
- $68 per day for services in an adult health care center.
As you can see, the cost of long-term care varies significantly based on the type of care. But factors like duration, location, and health needs also come into play. While many Americans are capable of covering a brief stint of care, multiple years can prove unaffordable. And that’s exactly why aging in place has become such a popular option.
How Smart Tech is Helping Seniors Age in Place
Aging in place is a lifestyle choice that centers on living in your own home for as long as possible as you age. Not only is it more comfortable, but it’s also more cost-effective. However, most homeowners have to retrofit their homes to make aging in place a practical option.
“Homeowners explore aging in place projects because they see the value in their current home, but understand that a forever home must be accessible and improve quality of life,” Case Design/Remodeling San Jose explains. “Aging in place design, also called Universal Design, is a set of principles that promotes ease of living and simplifies various aspects of your home’s layout. It’s a way to re-imagine a space with unlimited possibility.”
Here are some smart technologies that make Universal Design more practical and cost effective:
- Smart Home Security Systems
Smart home security systems can protect elderly homeowners from both intruders and natural disasters, such as fire and flooding. The Abode home security solution is one of the top platforms on the market. It allows homeowners to install monitors, sensors, and a variety of devices to customize a system that works for their home and individual needs.
“This type of system also works with smoke alarms, flood sensors, and freeze/temperature sensors,” designer Jennifer Pattison Tuohy mentions. “If a senior shares access to the Abode system with a caregiver, that person can check in via a smartphone app and know that the temperature is comfortable, all the doors and windows are secure, and they’ll be alerted if a smoke or CO alarm is triggered.”
- Voice-Activated Assistants
Smart speakers have become increasingly popular over the last couple of years. And while most people use them for novelty applications and convenience, they can actually provide some really important value for seniors who lack mobility and/or constant supervision.
Whether it’s the Amazon Echo, Google Assistant, or Apple’s Siri, these devices are extremely affordable and can be used in a variety of situations and environments. They’re great for making phone calls, listening to music, calling 911, accessing weather and news reports, and controlling other elements of the smart home (like lighting, door locks, and security features).
- Smart Task Lighting
Did you know that falls are the number one cause of injury in seniors? More than 3 million seniors end up in the emergency room because of a fall each year. And while there’s no single technology that can completely eliminate falls, proper lighting helps.
Smart lighting can be turned on with a phone (or with your voice). This makes it easy for seniors to activate task lighting when they’re getting out of bed or walking into a new room. Best of all, it’s not very expensive. An entire home’s lighting can be retrofitted with nothing more than new light bulbs and a connected app.
Begin Planning Today
If you want to age in place when you’re older, now’s the time to start planning ahead so that you can proactively invest in the right technologies, solutions, upgrades, and retrofits.