Aging isn’t always easy, especially if your loved one is suffering from a condition like Alzheimer’s or dementia. Luckily, advancements in technology and home remodeling have made it easier than ever for your family member to age in place. As long as they have someone to check up on them or stay with them, living at home is easier than ever.
After all, the home is somewhere no one wants to leave. This is the place where they have built their livelihood. The kitchen has housed countless meals with loved ones while the backyard has been the gathering spot for decades. Even though there are plenty of residences built to accommodate the needs of your aging loved one, most people want to stay at home for as long as possible. Thanks to advancements in technology and home, you might only need to see your doctor for the occasional check-up or visit a walk-in medical care clinic for more serious issues.
This isn’t to say that your loved one won’t need the help of an in-home care aide or the regular care an on-site staff member could offer. Eventually, transitioning your loved one into a medical care community is the right choice for many. Alzheimer care demands that all hands are on deck and it might be too much for a home caregiver alone. Still consider the benefits of a medical community when the time is right.
In the meantime, there are plenty of ways to blend technology and home to make your loved one’s living experience better. Here are some of the best ways you can incorporate technology into your home for the sake of your aging loved one.
Ensure the home’s safety
First thing is first: a safe home is a happy home, whether your loved one is ill or not. Ensuring that your loved one’s home is secure, stable, and not going to result in any harm is essential.
As such, you should start with a thorough inspection of the property. It might be worth it to call a home inspector or energy auditor to ensure the home is secure. Here are some of the top problem spots that you might have to invest in fixing, especially in older homes:
- The roof: Did you know that most roofs need to be fully replaced every 20 years or so? While some roofs can last a little longer, this is a good rule of thumb for most roofs sporting asphalt shingles (the industry standard). If you’re unable to afford an entire roof replacement, a quality roof repair job can keep the worst threats at bay.
- The siding: Your home’s siding can take a beating, especially if you live in an area inundated with rain, snow, and other forms of inclement weather. If you aren’t careful, rainwater and ice can seep into the cracks in your siding, making it an even bigger issue. This could result in mold issues, structural damage, and more. Inspecting the home’s siding is just as essential as the roof.
- The basement: When was the last time you got the home’s foundation checked? Odds are, it’s been a long time. This issue usually flies under the radar until warped floors and doorways start to rear their ugly heads. You might even have to invest in garage door spring repair more frequently if the foundation shifts too much. Ensure your basement’s foundation is secure by checking for any signs of gaps or cracks in the concrete. A faulty foundation could lead to water damage, radon issues, and concerns over the home’s overall stability.
These are just some of the common issues you should look for when you start assessing the health of a home. After all, a healthy home leads to healthy inhabitants. If your aging loved one wants to stay at home, don’t put their health at risk by allowing them to live in an unstable home. Luckily, contractors can use the best in technology to improve your home. It’s easier than ever to identify a problem and get it fixed when you rely on the pros.
How is the home’s mobility?
Technology and home mobility are another benefit to older folks living at home. There have been countless advancements when it comes to electronic mobility aids and more. Whereas your loved one would have been restricted to canes in the past, modern mobility aids rely on electronic bikes, walkers, and more.
Keep in mind that these mobility aids are useful, but not always accommodating. If your loved one adores the ease of an electronic chair, you might have to widen doorways to make room for them. You should also consider making the necessary modifications to the bathroom as well. A walk-in tub or shower with a chair will make a huge difference compared to a dangerous tub that you have to step into. You might also want to consider installing a moveable or angled mirror in the bathroom to ensure your loved one can get ready for the day with ease. Lower countertops, toilets, and sinks can also help your loved one’s mobility.
Installing ramps and opening up the floor space is another remodeling option you might want to consider. This is especially useful for home care aids that want to be readily available for your loved one. Too many rooms in a home can dampen sound in the event of an emergency. By opting for an open layout in the home, everyone can keep an eye on each other better. This is especially beneficial if you ever welcome young children into the home as well.
Finally, removing obstacles to mobility is another great tip. This might be removing all carpeting from the home and replacing it with hardwood. Older folks might slip on the edge of a rug or trip when the flooring changes. By opting for a single type of flooring throughout the home, you can make it a safer place for your loved one.
Remodeling your home will cost a pretty penny so be sure to keep this in mind. Your residential electrician and flooring company should be able to offer you estimates before they start the job. Be sure to invest in financial planning to help you and your family member live in a safer home that’s free of debt.
Technology and home security
Most thieves and burglars don’t want to target homes with good security systems. But homes with families who frequently go on vacation are at a higher risk of being robbed than families who stick to a more regular schedule. The same can be said for a confused elderly person living alone.
Keeping your loved one safe is a top priority. Luckily, technology and home safety measures have only gotten better over the course of the last decade. Now, homes can be equipped with electronic locking systems from a remote user. Even if your loved one fails to lock the door at night, you can rest easy knowing that you have the power to keep them safe from afar.
If your loved one lives in an area with higher crime rates, you can also install CCTV cameras, motion-detecting lights, and more. If a would-be robber sees that a home is outfitted with security systems, they will be more likely to leave it alone. After all, thieves look for easy targets that won’t draw attention to their actions. Nowadays, you can even invest in security measures that utilize audio-detection software. If a window should break, a good security system will alert the company immediately. You will never need to worry about buying replacement windows due to security concerns anymore (unless you want to improve your home’s energy efficiency).
Home security innovations don’t stop there. If your loved one has trouble moving around the home, you can also install a video surveillance system that connects with their doorbell. When the doorbell is rung, your loved one can connect with the person outside right from their phone. One of the most popular options out there is Ring. Think of it like a buzzer system with a built-in video camera. What was once solely used by mansion owners is quickly becoming more accessible when it comes to technology and home use. This is especially beneficial if your loved one is a regular at their local hearing center. The glow of their phone can do more to alert your loved one that there’s someone at the door more than a single sound ever could.
Just like an older home is prone to certain issues, so too are your home’s appliances.
Outdated ovens, refrigerators, and washing machines can cause a number of health issues if you aren’t careful. Ovens that don’t heat up properly can result in undercooked food or fires, while an old washing machine might perpetuate mold problems on articles of clothing. For some items, investing in appliance repair might be the right move, especially if there are only one or two issues. But for others, it might be worth looking into Energy Star rated appliances to replace the outdated models.
New appliances work better and run more efficiently than their older counterparts. While they might cost you a shiny red cent upfront, they’ll pay you back immediately in the form of energy savings. You will quickly notice your energy bills start to go down when you update your home’s goods. Not only will your loved one save money, but you will also save plenty of time worrying when you are given peace of mind.
On top of that, it’s worth it to update emergency features in your loved one’s home. Checking on the carbon monoxide detector, the sump pump in the basement, and the fire alarms should occur at regular intervals. Even the most updated appliances are prone to accidents. When you’re keeping your loved one safe, no stone should go unturned.
Technology and home: How your loved one can benefit
There are technological innovations occurring every day. Whether it’s to make the next super-fast electronic car or designed to help your loved one move from room to room, technology has become essential for our aging population. It’s estimated that the globe will consist of more elderly folks than ever before in the next couple of decades. As we transition into a world that’s growing older, aspects in technology and home need to keep up.
It won’t always be possible for your loved one to stay in the comfort of their home, but with these tips, it’s become more possible than ever before. Rely on these ideas to make your loved one’s home more comfortable, whether they’re struggling with Alzheimer’s or mobility issues associated with aging. Even small changes can make a world of difference to your older family member.