Wendy A Jordan
THE WASHINGTON POST – Terese Klitenic, 65, had two goals when she moved a few years ago to a townhouse in Waverly Woods, a 55-plus community in Marriottsville, Maryland.
One was to enjoy all that the active-adult community offers. The other was to prepare for a life of safety and comfort as the years go by.
Likewise, in Boca Raton, Florida, healthy octogenarians JT and Emily Galea wanted to prepare their one-storey house for the best life in their retirement.
Both homes incorporate essentials for safe senior living, including primary bedroom, bath and living spaces on one level; smooth floors (that would accommodate wheelchairs and rollators); good lighting; and kitchens, baths, laundry and storage areas designed for safe, convenient use.
But when it came to incorporating technology for ageing in place, the homeowners took very different approaches. Klitenic opted to start small, with a few tech tools. The Galea home is chock full of high-tech enhancements.
Supporting health, safety and security are important components of successfully ageing in place. So are home management systems that maintain a comfortable environment, and communication and recreation systems that enable social engagement, stimulation and entertainment.
JT controls the smart lights in the kitchen as his wife Emily Galea pours herself a glass of water. PHOTOS: THE WASHINGTON POST
The Galea home is chock full of high-tech enhancements
Wanda Gozdz, president of Golden Age Living, is a residential interior designer and certified ageing-in-place specialist (CAPS) whose company provides CAPS training and services.
She said “ageing in place is the ability to remain in your home as your lifestyle changes over time.”
As CEO and co-founder of Tech-Enhanced Life, which has a website (techenhancedlife.com) and programmes to identify and evaluate tech products for seniors, Richard Caro said he sees ageing-in-place technology as a means to help people maintain the daily life they have long enjoyed. And while many tech systems are helpful, Caro notes that some issues can be handled by simple, low-tech devices. He likes jar openers, for example, because they enable people with weak or arthritic hands to continue enjoying their favourite jarred foods.
Klitenic said she wanted tech tools that would allow her to “live alone safely and enjoy movies and music and life in general”. Assisted by Zachary Klaiman of DC-based Ztech, a company that provides technology and support for seniors, she chose just three things: a Ring smart doorbell, some Roku devices and an Apple watch.
With a camera focussed on who’s near the front door and a chime that rings when people walk by, the doorbell “makes me feel secure”, she said. She already had a smart TV so she augmented two other sets with Roku devices to stream programmes and movies. As for additional tech products, she will consider them if and when she sees a need.
The Galeas decided a few years ago to transition from their large, two-storey home to a smaller, one-storey place. They bought a 1,700-square-foot, two-bedroom house in a 55-plus community convenient to where two of their children live. After a three-month remodel, they moved into the house last March.
They made the structure accessible by raising the floor of the sunken living room to the same level as the rest of the space, installing a curbless shower, replacing the kitchen cabinet shelves with pullout units and adding handrails to the bathrooms. Strategically located …….