Ageing In Place: Technology Help

The concept of ‘ageing in place’ is not new. What is ‘new’, however, is the technology that has been developed for ‘ageing in place’. From the simple to the more complex, it seems there is a myriad of choices. We received an update, below, from someone who knows a lot about ageing in place and technology help.

Technology and ageing in place has come a long way. On a visit to the U.K., I was taken around to various residences that were set up in such a way that people could stay in their homes, rather than going to live in care settings. 

One lady showed me that there were long cords hanging from the ceiling in each of her rooms, so that she could alert people if she needed help. Her alarm went to a central call centre where help was dispatched.  Other people had varying degrees of other assistance in their homes.

Photo of ipad with apps open on main screen, Ageing In Place: Technology Help
Photo: William Iven

Another lady, Margaret, said she just loved living in her own home with support. She was a jolly, cheerful person who was much loved in her community – as were her ancestors.

Independence and being familiar with their home and community were some of the reasons people have reported on why they want to ‘age in place’.

Ageing In Place: Some Technology Help, fore finger in blood pressure sensor.
Photo: Stanley Ng

Of course, it is not always possible for people to stay in their own homes and it’s always advisable to seek professional help when looking at issues such as initial and ongoing costs.

However, if you want to start to explore some of the technological options for you, a friend or relative then the following team may be of help.

Becoming familiar with technological assistance may prove invaluable.

A while ago I asked Daniel King of the Intelligent Home Technology Centre about home automation and ‘ageing in place’.  You can read about it here

For a refresher, I contacted the Intelligent Home Technology Centre and Doug Crockett.   He is the Department Manager for the Assistive Technologies section.

What has been popular this year with home automation?

Doug says that ‘Most definitely’: voice control using Alexa and Control 4. Enabling people to control their homes using voice is a major move forward to achieving independence and security. Next on the list would be opening front entries using facial recognition.

Do you find that males and females have different preferences in home automation?

I find males prefer more geeky smart phone applications. Whereas females prefer simple button pressing. Both also enjoy the benefits of voice control. Here at intelligent home – we cater for all plus much, much more.

Older man holding an iphone in front of him, wearing a striped blue shirt, dark vest, Ageing In Place: Technology Help
Photo: Adam Nieścioruk

Do experienced people adapt well to home automation?

These types of systems are truly life changing. I cannot count how many times I would get a tear in my eye when a participant starts using technology for the first time.
Truly an amazing experience to behold. The adaption comes from the want to use and this is a very easy experience.

Lady checking smart watch.
Photo: Karolina Grabowska

Do you give support to people in the first few months?

This is a must.

We do hand overs, from the technician’s perspective.

But I would also go out to site and do a 2nd handover a few weeks later. This also shows me what the participant has learnt. Then they show me a few things.

If the need arises – I do go out – generally with an Occupational Therapist and go through things again if required.

Do you have any stories of how people have been helped with home automation?

This is an ever evolving area.

We would have more (publicly available stories) but people in need generally tend to be quiet and a little private. But you can have a look at one such story on our website.

Ball of cream string.
Photo: Adam Valstar

I asked Doug about new appliances that will appear in the next 12 months.  His reply made me think I had asked him ‘how long is a ball of string’…..(an exciting ball of string):

This is an open ended question.

Most manufacturers are pushing different additions to their current and future hardware.

It’s certainly a very exciting time. Take Home Assistant for example.

It’s a purely an open source Community built controller. This system now has over 1700 modular plugins / add-ons / IOT Systems and technologies that it can integrate with and control.

So you could start off with a few items and keep adding….

Doug said they could install automated lighting / a tv / a heater plus air conditioning.

Then you could keep going and add a lamp shade or a pedestal fan. 

Presence detection, light detection and temperature detection could also  be added.

To me the options seemed very interesting. (‘How far do we go?’, mused Doug).

However, exploring the options, doing your homework about an automated home – plus talking to the experts is a step along the way.

Ageing In Place: Some Technology Help

Thanks Doug!

For further information on Ageing In Place: Technology Help:

The Intelligent Home Technology Centre Showroom is at:

26 Walters Drive, Osborne Park

Western Australia, 6017 (08) 6363 8744

(Consultations are available by appointment only)

Like to know more? Their website is here

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