An overwhelming majority of retirees prefer to live out their latter years at home rather than a senior care facility, and their children echo that sentiment. About 85 percent of baby boomers and Generation X members surveyed by Senior Helpers said they would prefer their elderly parents age at home.1
While many likely enjoy “coming home” to see mom and dad, they also appreciate their parents’ ability to live comfortably and independently, following the same daily routine they always have — not to mention with proximity to family and friends. This works for both parties, since about 90 percent of retirees also say they want to stay in their own homes as they age.2
However, this can be a complicated situation, particularly for parents who require specialized care for Alzheimer’s, dementia or Parkinson’s, or that require assistance with daily activities. While there are services that can help, such as a 24-hour companion, personal assistance, live-in care, check-in visits and transition assistance after a hospital stay, these can become costly.
Fortunately, evolving technology in the home care industry may help retirees maintain their independence. New monitoring systems, such as activity-based sensors, can be placed around the home so loved ones can check on their relative’s well-being. These systems can detect and send alerts if Mom hasn’t gotten out of bed by her usual time or if Dad’s left the refrigerator door open for several hours. Today’s sophisticated devices can report changes in activity levels, sleeping and eating patterns, medication adherence and emergency situations like a fall.3
In-home monitoring may seem like a privacy violation to some. However, it could be a way to compromise with a parent who wants to continue living at home despite advice from children or health care providers to move into a senior community. After all, it would be important to have someone know if a parent falls and can’t get to a phone. It’s common to think we won’t need that type of assistance until we actually do.
1 Robin Seaton Jefferson. Forbes. April 30, 2017. “New Survey Finds Adult Children Want Their Parents to Age at Home.” https://www.forbes.com/sites/robinseatonjefferson/2017/04/30/new-survey-finds-adult-children-want-their-parents-to-age-at-home/#70a6ff52b44b. Accessed June 28, 2017.
2 Marc Saltzman. USA Today. June 24, 2017. “‘Aging in place’ tech helps seniors live in their home longer.” https://www.usatoday.com/story/tech/columnist/saltzman/2017/06/24/aging-place-tech-helps-seniors-live-their-home-longer/103113570/. Accessed July 28, 2017.