PROPERTY NEWS - Many senior citizens these days are opting to stay in their own homes rather than downsize and move to a retirement village. And that has many advantages, including living independently and being in a familiar environment.
"However, even your old home can present you with new challenges as you age, so it makes sense to take advantage of the 'smart' technologies that are continually being invented to make life easier as well as safer," says Berry Everitt, CEO of the Chas Everitt International property group.
"For example, there are now programmable switches that will automatically turn off the heat if your stove has been unattended for a certain time and prevent kitchen fires that can lead to serious injuries and expensive damage to your home. Other very useful devices include smart lights that you can control remotely with your smartphone or programme to turn on and off according to a schedule, or when you enter and leave a room. Some can also respond to voice commands, which means you never again have to try to locate light switches in the dark."
Home security is of course very important regardless of your age, he says, "and smart home security systems keep evolving to help warn owners when things are not as they should be. There are now systems that use sophisticated cameras and sensors to notify you when someone unrecognised is in your home and it isn't safe to enter, for example, but also to enable you to unlock a door remotely for family or friends.
These systems can also show you a photo or a video when someone rings your doorbell or notify you if you've left the house unlocked."
Writing in the Property Signposts newsletter, Everitt says that living independently well into retirement is an attractive idea for many but it also means you may well be alone when it comes to medical emergencies.
"So it is important to have quick access to a medical alert system, and most armed response companies will provide panic buttons for this purpose. But now some are also offering a system that will send emergency responders to wherever you are at the push of a button, guided by the GPS on your smartphone. And there are now smart medication dispensers which are a game-changer for those on chronic medication and those who need several different types of medication at different times of day. These devices will keep track and send you reminders, so that you don't accidentally skip a day or take a double dosage."
Home cleaning and maintenance is a chore for everyone, he notes, but can also pose a health hazard as you get older, so it's worth starting to invest in automated vacuum cleaners, mops, lawn mowers and gutter cleaners that can all be controlled from your smartphone.
"In fact, with all the smart tools out there, you will probably find that you can safely stay on and enjoy your own home for longer than you expected."
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