Can Technology Help Aging in Place?

  • Elder Law
Can Technology Help Aging in Place

According to a recent study, 88% of adults in the U.S. want to age in their own homes. Aging in place has become possible for many more senior adults as new tools, resources and technology become available and affordable. Many architects and home builders are designing smart, accessible homes that make aging in place a possibility:

• wider doorways with smooth floor transitions that can accommodate wheelchairs
• bathrooms with grab bars, easy shower entry and toilet assists
• doors with levers instead of knobs
• kitchens with easy access to appliances, cabinets and faucets
• stairways with lift chairs and extra handrails

Smart Technology for Aging in Place

  • Automatic door locks that can text a caretaker or family member when a door is opened or locked
  • Lighting with timers that are scheduled to go on and off
  • Thermostats that have controls that can be managed with a smartphone
  • Smoke/carbon monoxide detectors that send a text message if they are activated
  • Appliances with safety knobs and controls
  • Virtual assistants such as Amazon Echo, Google Home, or Siri
  • Home security systems with cameras that can send a message to family, a caretaker or a designated authority if they are breached

When using technology to support aging in place, it’s important that family members and caregivers balance safety with freedom and privacy.

Privacy and Smart Technology
With all this extra technology, privacy issues come into play. Seniors who freely choose to use smart technology to age in place can designate who is informed when the technology is triggered, such as an alarm, and who has access to the controls and apps.

For aging seniors who require a caretaker, often concerned family members are inclined to use technology to watch and regulate the activity in their loved one’s home – without the consent of the senior adult. A concerned child may be worried about their parent’s caretaker, or if other family members are financially abusing or manipulating an elderly parent.

Before recording anyone, even a family member, it is important to determine whether your use of a camera and audio recording equipment would violate the Illinois Eavesdropping Act which is among the strictest in the country. It is advisable to consult an experienced elder law attorney if you feel that a senior member of your family is a victim of elder abuse, and what you can legally do to protect your loved one.

Read More: Can I Put a Camera in My Mother’s Nursing Home Room?

Do You Have Questions About Elder Law? Let an Attorney Clarify Any Misconceptions

Aging in place can be emotionally beneficial and physically safe, and technology can provide seniors and their families with peace of mind. An experienced elder law attorney can help you ensure the technology you choose meets both privacy and safety requirements to protect beloved family members.  Contact the Estate & Probate Legal Group at 630-864-5835 for advice.