Part of the fun of new home technology is using it to make daily living more comfortable and cool. The marketplace is growing with smart-house innovations, such as getting hot water from a refrigerator or instantly turning on a group of lights in your house.
Older Americans, and the people who care about them, want user-friendly homes full of convenience and safety. With wireless technology, more and more functions in the house can be controlled by remotes, keypads, smartphones or tablets. Home systems are being redesigned in ways that often can help people with arthritis or disabilities perform daily tasks more easily.
Eight out of 10 baby boomers say they want to stay in their homes and communities as long as possible, according to a 2012 AARP poll. “Our research shows people are not going to move,” said Nancy Thompson, an AARP spokeswoman.
Businesses such as iHome Integration in Virginia provide technology solutions to seniors and people with special needs. Co-owner Justin Tsuchida says he installs motion, door and pressure sensors as well as cameras that can help families keep track of loved ones through a smartphone or computer.
Builders and remodelers are increasingly getting technology requests from consumers who are spending time at home shows or reading up on innovations for kitchens and bathrooms. According to Bill Owens, president of Owens Construction near Columbus, Ohio, and past chairman of the National Association of Home Builders Remodelers, buyers are looking for convenience and comfort but are turned off by labels such as “senior-specific” or “universal design.”
“Baby boomers are looking for mainstream convenience and comfort,” Owens said. “They want to be jazzed by buying something new that is easy to use and has a wow factor. The safety aspect is an added bonus for a lot of people.”