“Aging in place” is commonly defined as “the ability to live in one’s home and community safely, independently, and comfortably, regardless of age, income, or ability level.”
Your parents who want to age in place probably define this trend differently. They simply want to remain in the place where they are comfortable, where they’ve lived for a long time and plan on living a lot longer.
There are many companies that are dedicated to making aging in place a reality, with products and services that meet seniors’ changing needs and that ensure their homes are well-kept, comfortable and secure. Today’s home automation technology is at the forefront of this movement.
One home automation product that’s playing a central role in facilitating the aging in place trend is the electronic lock or “smart lock.” Multi-functional, easy-to-use and extremely secure, the latest generation of electronic door locks is providing live-at-home seniors with the highest level of home security, and their adult children with greater peace of mind. These new smart locks automatically lock doors and keep homes secure through the use of personal numeric codes as opposed to keys that can easily be lost or stolen.
They can also provide senior residents and their adult children with even greater access control when the locks are a part of a home automation system such as those that use ZigBee or Z-Wave technology. With these smart locks, unwanted guests are kept out, while access can be granted to loved ones, caregivers, and even first responders in emergency situations
Home Is Where the Smart Lock Is.
There are primarily three essential roles that an electronic smart lock can play in accommodating aging in place:
- Smart locks allow the adult children to monitor the elderly person’s activity. The lock itself can be viewed as a kind of “sensor” providing information about what is going on inside a home – who has been granted access and when. Family members and caregivers have to play a central role in making this work. Locks can be programmed to send out emails and texts regarding who is accessing the home. Caregivers need to configure these communications around the specific information they want to get. They also need to monitor these communications to ensure home security and safety is maintained.
- 2. Smart locks can provide customized access. Individual access codes can be provided to any authorized people who might need access to the home and its residents. These can be service technicians, such as plumbers or electricians, or they can be healthcare professionals authorized to enter in the event of a medical emergency.
- Smart locks can simplify caregiver management and make it safer. Because access codes can be changed and multiple codes can be used, keys never have to be provided to caretakers. It’s a reality that caretakers such as housekeepers change over time; with smart locks, when caretakers change, codes can change, so there is never a worry about where those stray keys have gone. Access availability can also be scheduled for a caregiver, designating specific times of day when their code will work.
Are The “Aging in Place” Benefits Of Smart Locks Hitting Home?
The answer to this question is “not yet.” Home automation system providers and smart lock manufacturers are still in the process of understanding and communicating the multitude of benefits that their products can bring to homeowners. It’s really up to security dealers and installers to sell the value to consumers. The technology to facilitate aging in place and make it more secure exists today. It’s in the smart lock. Dealers and installers just need to spread the word about the smart lock’s “aging in place” benefits in order to lock up sales in a market that may be growing older but also growing bigger.