Products associated with aging may not have the appeal of Ultra HD TVs or the latest Playstation but with a rapidly aging population and fewer caregivers spread thin, Best Buy is banking on a growing number of adult children using technology to ensure their parents are safe at home.
According to a recent Bloomberg BusinessWeek report, Best Buy is testing the market for their sensor-based home monitoring service, Assured Living, in Denver and the Twin Cities. With more seniors opting to age in place and fewer spaces available in assisted living communities, remote monitoring can help reassure family living at a distance or busy with careers and children of their own.
Systems that can detect time spent in and out of bed or whether or not the stove was left on can also be set up for seniors themselves to screen visitors with a doorbell camera or make adjustments to the thermostat using a smartphone. Text alerts can be sent to a neighbor or family member if regular habits are not being followed to ensure the safety of an older loved-one. For example. when Mom always rises by 7 a.m. and puts on the kettle for tea, a text alert can let someone know if there has been no activity in the kitchen by 8 a.m.
One of the biggest fears adult children of elderly parents have is that they won’t be there when their loved-one needs them most and that an older adult will lie for hours in pain with no way to summon help. Call buttons and cell phones are great, but how often have you heard of an elderly person who had a fall and wasn’t wearing their medical alert system or forgot to charge their phone? Sensors don’t require older adults to wear, carry or charge any device and become quite invisible to residents after a short time.
But many seniors do have concerns with technology that should be respected. Having every move monitored and a private home wired with cameras, speakers or sensors can be an invasion of personal space. The good news is that with open and honest discussion about safety as well as privacy concerns, technology can be adapted to help seniors age in place with dignity and a sense of security.
To learn more about Assured Living visit the Best Buy website here.