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Aging-in-Place Technologies: Invasive or Reassuring?

In case you haven't already heard via our video post, our special Floor Plans and Design Guide is hitting newsstands this week. In addition to the results of our annual design contest and information on stock-to-custom plan modifications, we also focus on some of the newer design trends, such as aging-in-place (AIP) design.


In interviewing experts for this piece, I had the opportunity to chat with a guy named Bruce Waltar, a former Microsoft employee-turned-residential tech expert who helps devise solutions for an AIP kit company. Although he offered some really sound advice -- namely that technology is only a piece of AIP to help increase the livability of a home, not just flashy technology for technology's sake, as one might assume in hearing some of the capabilities -- as he rattled off a few of the systems, such as third-party monitors placed in pill boxes to ensure medication is being taken or along the floor to detect when someone has fallen, I couldn't help but wonder at what point did such electronic assistance transition from convenience to Big Brother-type surveillance.


Flash forward to last week to a brief discussion between me and my publisher during a brainstorming meeting. She had read similar information regarding AIP design and began listing many of the same systems that Bruce had suggested; however, instead of the caution with which I had heeded these technologies, her initial reaction was one of reassurance -- that these systems enabled someone else to look out for you and make sure you are safe.   


What do you think? Would you be interested in installing a system in your retirement cabin to help reassure you or your family members that help was only an electronic alert away? Or would you prefer to restrict technologies only to those things that helped make day-to-day activities a little easier, such as nighttime running lights?

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