26 Apr Housing, furniture, IoT: innovation for seniors
The aging of the population is disrupting our modern societies. From pension schemes to the labor market, new seniors are forcing decision-makers to reinvent our social and economic model. But the devil is hiding in the details and other less exposed sectors are also experiencing these transformations. It is the case for architecture or design, which must adapt to the new requirements but above all to the unique needs of a generation of baby boomers who have become seniors.
Housing is a particularly crucial stumbling block for seniors. Indeed, poorly adapted, it becomes the territory of all dangers and forces older people to leave their homes early for a specialized institution. It is a significant cost for families and society, which can be avoided by adapting housing to the lifestyle of a senior. Constraints that traditional companies like startups are increasingly taking into account to solve the problem or develop new solutions.
Adapting to the needs of seniors
In recent years, evolving housing has spread. They allow its occupants to develop the layout of the space according to their needs. For seniors, it is a question of widening traffic areas, raising and securing sanitary facilities or optimizing storage areas so that they are easily accessible, without the occupants having to bend down, for example. Mobile walls and modular installations facilitate the transition from working life to a later age, sometimes marked by mobility or health problems.
The furniture, too, adapts. Chairs with armrests for stability, comfortable and optimized seats to rest the back, beds modified to avoid falls. Rail-mounted storage units are also valuable allies – in the kitchen, for example – as their height can vary to make them easily accessible. In the bathroom, small adjustments can prevent accidents and prolong home support, such as adding a support bar near the toilet or installing a non-slip floor mat in the shower.
IoT connected technologies as a new ally for seniors
These new modular habitats also use new technologies, which have also adapted to the aging of their users. The accommodation becomes a cocoon, both a secure place and a comfortable or even medicalized den thanks to various devices. Sensors can thus be placed in different places in the dwelling to be able to warn relatives or emergency services in the event of prolonged inactivity, suggesting a fall of the occupant. Video surveillance cameras or motion detectors are flourishing in the retail sector. Coupled with products such as emergency call medallions or connected watches that allow seniors in difficulty to notify their loved ones or emergency services quickly, these devices put connectivity at the service of seniors’ safety.
Before connecting, it is mainly a question of automating to limit the futile efforts to be made. Gates, garage doors and shutters can now be opened or closed remotely. The luminaires can also be remotely controlled or linked to motion sensors to facilitate the internal movement of older people. The same applies to heat, which can be programmed according to the living habits of the occupant of the dwelling not only to optimize the indoor temperature, and therefore its comfort, but also reduce its energy bill.