Senior living industry professionals believe that technology, including artificial intelligence, robots, home automation, and virtual reality, will have a tremendous impact on their industry. While care by robotics was seen as the least impactful, the majority of the survey’s respondents believed that smart home technology and sharing economy apps like Uber, Task Rabbit, and meal delivery services would impact the senior living industry.
Along with smart home technology and the sharing technology, over two-thirds of the survey’s respondents thought that medical care delivered via telemedicine and voice-activated support like Alexa would be very to extremely impactful. Overall, 79% of respondents thought that technology that allows users users autonomy and proactive health care like wearable monitors and grocery delivery was very to extremely impactful. The survey, titled “The State of Senior Living: An Industry Grappling with Autonomy,” was published by global architecture firm Perkins-Eastman on January 25, 2019.
Most baby boomers prefer to stay at home and access services rather than live in a retirement or nursing home, according to the survey’s respondents. In accordance, 57% of middle income seniors (ages 80 and above) prefer to live in an “Apartment for Life” model, an independent apartment where licensed services can be brought in as needed. These apartments will be near retail and healthcare services, ideally. As opposed to units within senior care homes, seniors prefer a la carte services and fees, made easier by home automations and the sharing economy.
More and more companies are expanding to smart senior care. Essence, a smart home company, has produced devices for seniors that allow users to connect with emergency services, as well as artificially intelligent sensors to detect movement and falls. Rather than putting their elderly family member in a nursing home, users can set up sensors around the house that detect motion and entry. Over time, the sensors will learn the person’s pattern of behavior.
“It can be as simple as maybe that they’re showing less movement and haven’t taken their meals. Our monitoring services will call and see if they’re okay,”
said Rafi Zauer, Essence’s Head of Marketing.
The push for senior smart home products and services is part of a larger expansion in the smart home industry. Smart home spending will double to $123 billion by 2022, according to a report from ABI research. Along with the expansion of the smart home industry comes privacy concerns, something users should look out for as they purchase connected devices.