When age catches up to baby boomer lifestyle

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Let’s face it: we’re getting older. We eschew terms like “seniors” (except when it comes to senior discounts!) but the fact is, one of these days, we’re going to have to make changes if we want to maintain the lifestyles we love. That’s what Examiner.com’s baby boomer expert Paul Briand writes about in his story about a study that says, Baby Boomers aren’t taking steps to live independently.

Baby Boomers say, We want to live independently as we age, but a new study suggests we aren’t preparing our homes to do so.

The Global Social Enterprise Initiative (GSEI) at Georgetown University’s McDonough School of Business, and the diversified international technology company Philips, have released a study that shows a widening technology innovation gap for aging Boomers.

The study reveals that 96-percent of respondents say it’s important to be as independent as possible as we get older, but only 21-percent plan to incorporate new so-called “smart home” technology solutions, despite our already widespread use of certain technologies such as computers and wi-fi.

Remote home control

Philips has an online resource called Creating Connected Communities for Aging Well that includes the study, entitled “Older, but not always wiser.”

“The projected growth of the aging population constitutes a real need to focus on preparing for the future today,” says Brent Shafer, CEO of Philips North America. “Now is the time that we need to urgently and collectively shift focus to reduce the barriers and increase education on new innovations in technology that bring peace of mind, safety, and convenience.”

Respondents said the three most important factors for communities are high-speed internet access (87-percent), nearby grocery stores (83-percent), and access to hospitals and medical centers (77-percent).

They said the most important factors for home design features are a low-maintenance exterior (58-percent), master bedrooms and baths on the first floor (54-percent), and effective lighting throughout the house (54-percent).

And while Baby Boomers are accustomed to using technology for refilling prescriptions and scheduling doctor visits and going online to review their government services such as Social Security, there’s a reluctance to employ technology in and around the homes we intend to stay in.

iPhone-Home

The study shows nearly 80-percent of respondents are not thinking about or are not sure they’ll make upgrades to their homes.

A good part of the reluctance, according to the researchers, is concern about cost. Most think it’ll just be too expensive. Researchers say builders and others associated with smart-home technologiesneed to stress the long-term value of the upgrades as well as potential long-term savings, benefits that extend through generations.

“The long-term, intergenerational benefits to universal design and early technology adoption extend beyond the aging population. For example, structural and technological updates can help injured individuals of all ages move with ease,” says Bill Novelli, GSEI founder and Georgetown McDonough professor.

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