Smart home technology may help senior citizens remain independent

social media isnt just for youngsters anymore new research finds senior citizen internet
Robert Kneschke/Shutterstock

A new survey by the Consumer Technology Association (CTA) reveals some results that go against the generalization that seniors won’t adopt smart home technology, especially when it comes to their health.

The survey is revealing, even by its predictions. By 2022, the CTA expects the market for connected solutions for seniors to reach nearly $30 billion, while the largest section of that submarket, safety, and smart living technologies is expected to triple in size between 2018 and 2022, reaching over $17 billion. Sixty-five million baby boomers are about to outstrip the traditional age for retirement, and how society reacts is going to be interesting.

The CTA says that health and remote care is possibly the most promising segment of the active aging market. However, the survey refers to specialized cases like monitoring blood pressure remotely and other platforms for remote health care from technology companies like Honeywell and Intel-GE.

The survey was interesting as well in that it didn’t just interview seniors. In addition to surveying more than 700 seniors who are 65 or older, the CTA also interviewed 750 caregivers aged 18 to 64 who either have a living parent or relative that they care for.

The technologies the survey touches on are diverse, which comes as no surprise given the number of solutions that are either readily available or in progress to help seniors live independently. Safety and smart living areas included safety monitoring, emergency response, communication, home control, automation, and home robots, not to mention autonomous vehicles.

Meanwhile, health and remote care questions looked into personal health devices that supply reports, remote diagnosis and monitoring, and/or virtual consultation to communicate with a doctor or other health professional.

Finally, the survey’s queries into wellness and fitness included questions about fitness-tracking devices, diet and weight-loss tools, wellness monitors that track things like sleep, meditation, pain management, and brain health, and personal sound amplification devices that augment traditional devices like hearing aids.

The survey found that 64 percent of seniors were ready to embrace safety and smart monitoring technology, while 61 percent would adopt active aging technology in order to live more independently. Augmenting those results was the fact that younger caregivers can be effective technology advocates, which is important given that nearly a quarter of caregivers surveyed indicated that they are the sole decision makers for their seniors on medical and other living matters.

Emergencies are naturally a concern — if you’re old enough, you suffered through those “I’ve fallen and I can’t get up” commercials — but the survey revealed that seniors are also worried about everyday tasks, like taking medication. While it’s logical that seniors are worried about these issues, it’s interesting that caregivers are far more worried about accidents: 70 percent of caregivers were concerned about seniors taking their meds, while over 60 percent were worried about accidents like forgetting to turn off the stove.

Naturally, there are a bunch of barriers to widespread adoption. Three-quarters of seniors said they would need help adopting new products in their home and nearly the same percentage said new technology is too expensive. Privacy also continues to be a big deal, with equal amounts of seniors and caregivers exhibiting some distrust of smart aging products and solutions.


4 women innovators who are using tech to help others live better lives

Meet four women leaders who are not only at the forefront of technology today, but also using tech — from robotics and medicine to food and undergarments — to help others.
Smart Home

Protect yourself: Here are some of the best home security systems

Looking for the best home security systems for your house? These systems offer the best mix of devices, smart features, monitoring services, and fees that you can afford (plus good customer service reports).

Bags with brains: Smart luggage and gadgets are making travel smoother

The bag you use to tote your stuff can affect the experience of any trip. In response, suitcases are wising up, and there are now options for smart luggage with scales, tracking, and more. Here are our favorite pieces.
Smart Home

Viral porch pirate videos freak people out, cause unrealistic concern

Viral porch pirate videos convince others crime is more prevalent than facts indicate. According to polls, even though FBI reports show property crime rates are at historic lows, more people worry about crime today than ever before.
Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: Write music with your voice, make homemade cheese

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!
Smart Home

Which is better, the original Echo or the Echo Dot? We compare them

Amazon Echo vs. Dot: Having Alexa answer your questions is nothing short of futuristic, but which device should you get? There are some big differences between the two, especially in size, sound, and cost.
Product Review

Gate’s Smart Lock is locked and loaded but ultimately lacks important basics

In a world of video cameras and doorbells comes the Gate Smart Lock, a lock with a video camera embedded. It’s a great idea, but lacks some crucial functionality to make it a top-notch product.
Smart Home

Sony’s Aibo robot dog can now patrol your home for persons of interest

Sony released the all-new Aibo in the U.S. around nine months ago, and since then the robot dog has (hopefully) been melting owners' hearts with its cute looks and clever tricks. Now it has a new one up its sleeve.

Amazon slashes $77 off the iRobot Roomba 690 multisurface robot vacuum

This special offer comes just in time for you to get a head start on spring cleaning. The Roomba 690 robot vacuum sucks up dust, dirt and pet hair — all while you're away at the office.
Smart Home

Get sweaty with the best smart home fitness gadgets on the market

Are you looking for smart fitness devices that will really help your workouts, no matter where you like to exercise? These smart home gadgets are designed to help you analyze your workouts and keep track of how you are doing.
Smart Home

Our favorite coffee makers make flavorful cups of joe from the comforts of home

Whether you're looking for a simple coffee maker to get you through the morning or a high-end brewer that will impress your taste buds and your friends, you'll find some of the best coffee makers around on this list.

Vivint’s Car Guard keeps tabs on your vehicle when you’re not in it

A simple plug-in that you can place in just about any vehicle, Vivint's new Car Guard will automatically detect if your car is bumped, towed, or stolen and will alert you about it.

Fibaro smart devices are now compatible with the Samsung SmartThings hub

Samsung SmartThings now supports even more devices with the integration of Fibaro, a company known for its smart home sensors. Several Fibaro devices are already compatible, with more on the way.
Emerging Tech

Tombot is the hyper-realistic dog robot that puts Spot to shame

Forget Boston Dynamics’ Spot! When it comes to robot dogs, the folks behind a new Kickstarter campaign have plans to stake their claim as makers of man’s (and woman’s) newest best friend.