I was recently at a conference on aging technology products where one of the speakers called this category "silverware." The new products and services being introduced are very exciting not only because they will help us "age in place" and improve our quality of life as we grow older, but they will also greatly help out our family caregivers.
A 2008 report by AARP cited that 80 percent of Baby Boomers expect to age in place (stay in your home as long as possible). In addition, a 2008 report by Berg Insight anticipated that the home monitoring and safety industry will be $11 billion in the next few years. That’s a lot of people buying a lot of products – and many will be purchased by a family caregiver to keep a loved one safe.
While home safety monitoring is not a new concept (just think "Nanny-cams" for child surveillance), many seniors (actually anyone over age 5) are resistant to being "watched" as if they have reverted back to being children who cannot be left alone.
So, while the industry needs to do some marketing wordsmithing for these products, the way for family caregivers to have a conversation with their loved one around safety monitoring can receive an immediate new "spin."
If the goal for both an older loved one and their family caregiver is to keep the senior in their own home as long as possible, then the backlash associated with being "monitored" really becomes a dialogue around "prevention" and "protection."
This helps our senior loved ones understand that the goal is independence while also giving us family caregivers peace of mind.
To check out some of the latest technologies, products and other aging in place breakthroughs and trends, go to a great blog at Aging in Place Technology Watch.
For those caregivers caring for a loved one with Alzheimer's disease, a great new product is Comfort Zone – a truly remarkable tech advancement in ensuring your loved one is safe from wandering.
Technology is going to help us live longer, in the way and in the place we desire. And, while grandma's silverware is typically passed down to younger generations, now "silverware" is being provided by family caregivers to keep their older loved ones safe and at home.
Given the many crucial issues surrounding the physical, mental, emotional, and lifestyle demands associated with caregiving, it’s important for families to be aware of where to go for answers, support, and encouragement.
Caring for a Loved One with Alzheimer's Disease: A Guide for the Home Caregiver
by Peter Rabins, M.D., MPH, and Ann Morrison, RN, Ph.D.