Smart Home technology enables individuals to "age in place"
Recent data from AARP reveals that 77 percent of adults aged 50 and older express a desire to remain in their homes, commonly known as “aging in place.” Meanwhile, The Arc, a national organization supporting individuals with disabilities, states that approximately 4.8 million non-institutionalized individuals with disabilities are facing a housing crisis as their aging caregivers will eventually be unable to provide adequate support.
For caregivers, the concern of ensuring safety, security, and long-term solutions for their loved ones is constant. However, there are affordable solutions available that can significantly help without the need for expensive retirement or nursing homes, group homes, or similar options.
In 2013, Dan Killinger of Zionsville founded Intelligent Living Solutions, initially focusing on outdoor automation, lighting, sound systems, and early-stage technology. Inspired by the needs of many, a range of smart home technologies have emerged to support individuals in their goal of living as independently as possible for as long as possible.
“This technology revolves around enabling mom to be self-sufficient while providing adult children with peace of mind, knowing that mom is safe even when they can’t be physically present,” says Killinger, highlighting the key motivation behind these advancements.
Safety is naturally a top priority for those requiring additional assistance. By implementing indoor and outdoor cameras, video doorbells, and motion-activated lighting, risks such as tripping in the dark can be minimized. Moreover, specialized solutions cater to specific situations, such as securing medicine cabinets with automated locks to prevent unauthorized access. In these cases, caregivers can remotely unlock the cabinet for authorized individuals, such as nurses, using a mobile device.
while the stove remains inaccessible when the individual is alone, preventing accidental hazards. Whenever the code is used for cabinets or the stove, the caregiver receives notifications to stay informed.
All entry points, including the garage door, can be equipped with keypad access. This not only enables caregivers to monitor entries by nurses or housekeepers but also ensures that everything is securely locked for the evening.
In the event of a fall or emergency, caregivers can remotely unlock the front door for paramedics or the fire department. Motion detectors can also be employed to establish typical activity patterns. For example, if an individual typically follows a specific morning routine but deviates from it, the caregiver receives a notification, indicating a potential issue.
Smart home technology can also address concerns regarding thermostat settings. Caregivers can remotely adjust the temperature and even disable the thermostat if conflicts arise, ensuring a comfortable environment.
Killinger has received unique requests as well. For instance, attaching a device to the mailbox can alert homeowners and caregivers when the mail arrives, alleviating concerns about missed deliveries. For those with pets, a chip in their collar can automate door access, allowing them to go outside and return inside independently. This feature is also beneficial for wheelchair or walker users, who can effortlessly open doors by pressing a button on their keychain.
Killinger emphasizes that many people are unaware of the extensive capabilities offered by smart home technology. While there is a cost involved in automating one’s home, it pales in comparison to the expenses associated with assisted living facilities. At the same time, loved ones can experience enhanced independence and comfort in their own homes.