How Technology is Letting New Jersey Seniors “Age in Place”
According to demographics, New Jersey’s population is aging. The state’s median age increased from 36.7 in 2000 to 39.0 in 2010. In the country as a whole, we are said to be an “aging society,” in which those over age 60 will, at some point in the near future, outnumber those under 18. Also, not only are Americans living longer, they’re much healthier and more active in their senior years, more so than in any previous generations.
This means that as the Baby-boomer generation attains senior citizen status, they’ll be less quick to sell their homes and downsize or move to a retirement community.
This trend is referred to as “Aging in Place” – defined as “the ability to live in one’s own home and community safely, independently, and comfortably, regardless of age, income, or ability level.”
According to recent research from the AARP, nearly 90% of those over 65 want to stay in their home for as long as possible, and 80% “believe their current residence is where they will always live.”
In fact, home automation technology is one of the most significant drivers of Aging in Place. Sensors, voice activated devices, connectivity via mobile phones and various smartphone apps play a role in reducing risk and enabling seniors to stay at home as far through the aging process as possible. However, even the most independent-minded and robust and hearty senior citizen must face the reality of aging, which is that certain risks become more paramount as time goes on. The odds of experiencing a heart attack, seizure or stroke increase. Seniors become less steady on their feet, and more susceptible to bad falls.
We’ve all seen the famous commercials on TV that depicts a senior citizen using a device that lets them send an alert, a device called a “PERS”.
According to an article in Consumer Reports, they recommend looking for a system offered by an alarm company that has its own monitoring center, located in the U.S., and one that also hires and trains the emergency operators (as opposed to using a subcontractor to handle that function).
In addition, Consumer Reports advised that a PERS system provider use a monitoring center that “has been certified by Underwriters Laboratories (UL) a nonprofit safety and consulting company.”
The PERS unit is placed in any location in the home, as long as it is in proximity to a phone jack. A waterproof wrist or pendant push-button transmitter sends a telephone call for emergency help, no matter where the wearer is or what he or she is doing (i.e. from the shower or bath). PERS uses two-way voice technology, which gives our operators the ability to speak with the wearer after the button is pushed. While the PERS system is by design incredibly simple to use, any reputable home automation company will program, install, test, and instruct the user until they are comfortable with their PERS.
Whether its for the present, future, for themselves or an elderly family member, every homeowner in New Jersey should consider some form of in-home PERS system. With health and life safety at stake, it’s imperative to ensure that the equipment is installed correctlym by a professional, and properly intgrated with the rest of the personal technology devices and platforms. Your alarm company, which is already in the home, is in many cases the perfect partner to provide connected health solutions.