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How Home Tech Innovations Can Help Aging Clients Remain Independent

January 4, 2021 
By Laurie Orlov, Aging Tech Expert

Smart home tech innovations that can help solve the challenges of aging in place

Laurie Orlov
Laurie is a tech industry veteran, writer, speaker, and founder of Aging in Place Technology Watch. She conducts market research, follows trends, and writes reports about technologies and services that enable boomers and seniors to remain longer in their home of choice.
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Source: The Best Smart Home Devices to Help Seniors Age in Place, The New York Times, 11/17/20

Could a robot play ping pong? Omron’s robot, Forpheus, can. It uses two vision sensors and a motion sensor to measure the position of both its opponent and the movement of the ball 80 times per second. But more amazing, Forpheus can evaluate a player’s skills, compare them to a pro’s skills, and offer suggestions for how to improve. Omron hopes Forpheus will help people improve many skills they already have, (not just ping pong) instead of just doing things for them.

Tech, like Forpheus, may someday help the 87% of aging clients who plan to age in their homes rather than move to a senior care facility. Despite this desire to age in place, it’s not always possible. If aging takes its toll on our physical and mental capabilities, it can be challenging to live in our homes independently. Smart home tech can help overcome these challenges. This article highlights cutting-edge tech that could help older clients live safer, stay socially connected, overcome hearing and communication challenges, and keep aging in the home of their choice.

 

“What’s This Have to Do With Financial Planning?”

Aging clients will still need your financial planning skills as the key to their financial security. But as they age, the quantity and complexity of their needs will expand beyond just their finances. For example, a client may have plenty of assets, but the thought of a potential move to a senior care facility could be depressing. This client, unaware of how smart home tech could help, feels helpless.

By staying informed about smart home tech trends, you can offer suggestions about products and services that could help them maintain their independence longer. Yes, it’s outside the typical role of “financial planning,” but it could be the key to a client’s happiness as they age.

 

Tech to Help Clients Age in Place

  • Zibrio SmartScale

    This device can detect a decline in balance, a common symptom of aging, which can ultimately lead to falls. Falls can result in injuries severe enough—for example, traumatic brain injury—to threaten the independence of older adults. The Zibrio SmartScale measures balance with a 60-second test. The user stands on the scale, then it scores their balance from 1-10. The lower the score, the greater the risk of falling.

In addition to a balance score, the scale has an associated app, Zibrio Balance Coach, that offers personalized tips about how to improve balance (e.g., exercise, sleep, and the effects of medication). As users try these suggestions, they can see how their balance improves and their risk of a fall decreases. This smart scale was a CES 2020 Innovation Award Honoree. (Available for pre-order now. Price is $299)

consumerScale

Addison Care is named after “Addison.” She’s a state of the art 3D animated virtual caregiver that’s designed to communicate with aging and chronically ill people and provide supplementary care at home.

Addison appears on 15-inch monitors that are strategically placed throughout a residence. Addison carries on two-way conversations and is programmed for a user’s personal needs and care. Addison can be upgraded to include GPS, medication reminders, and PocketMD, a physician-on-demand service.

Addison Care is available for home use and senior care communities. Find more info on their website.

Addison_square

Falls are the leading cause of loss of independence of older adults. Essence’s fall detector is a wireless radar-based device that accurately recognizes falls and immediately alerts healthcare providers.

This product doesn’t require the use of wearable fall detection devices. It uses integrated devices placed around the house with a variety of safety measures, including activity monitoring, artificial intelligence, and voice-activated panic buttons. This product earned an “Internet of Things Health & Wellness Safety Solution of the Year” award. For more info, visit their website.

RADAR
  • Alexa Care Hub

    Amazon’s free service, “Alexa Care Hub,” helps caregivers keep tabs on a loved one’s activity. It requires two linked Amazon accounts and one Echo smart speaker or Echo Show smart display at the home of the person being monitored. The service can send caregivers text notifications about a loved one’s general activities such as turning on smart lights, playing music, moving about the house.

The information-sharing has been carefully balanced to provide caregivers with useful insights regarding their loved one’s activities without creating access to specific voice commands, songs played, or movies watched.

Alexa Care Hub also has a safety feature. If a loved one needs help, they can just say, “Alexa, call for help,” and the caregiver will receive a text notification and a call. Experts agree that the decision to add monitoring devices should be made in conjunction with the senior who will be living with them. In addition to caregiving support features, an Echo smart speaker is great for playing music, listening to news and weather reports, playing trivia games, and calling friends.

echo

 

Next Step

  1. Visit a few of the websites above to explore how this tech may be able to help your aging clients.
  2. Download our 5 Ways Tech Will Change How You Age client workbook below


Links from this article to a non-Hartford Funds site are provided for users’ convenience only. Hartford Funds does not control or review these sites nor does the provision of any link imply an endorsement or association of such non-Hartford sites. Hartford Funds is not responsible for and makes no representation or warranty regarding the contents, completeness or accuracy or security of any materials on such sites. If you decide to access such non-Hartford Funds sites, you do so at your own risk. 

Hartford Funds may or may not be invested in the companies referenced herein; however, no particular endorsement of any product or service is being made.

The views and opinions expressed herein are those of the author, who is not affiliated with Hartford Funds.

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