Age Tech: The Smart Home Is Becoming a Reality to Deliver Better Health Care to Older Adults


Tech improvements, delivery improvements and skyrocketing demand will combine to deliver on better health care at home. Photo: Westend61/Getty Images

Longevity may be the most important trend we’ve ever experienced. It’s driven by — and in turn, it affects — everything from health to housing, money to technology, lifestyle to social policy. There’s so much to be aware of — and it’s just getting started! Now you can keep up with all the latest developments in this weekly column.


Laurie Orlov, my favorite go-to source for what’s happening in the world of “age tech,” has a valuable forecast on the future of sensors in delivering better health care to older adults.

Everyone is expecting “the smart home” to be the answer for:

  • The enormous increase in the 80-plus population
  • The strong preference (both by consumers and health-care systems) for home-based, as opposed to institutionalized, health care
  • The critical shortage of nurses and other front line health care workers

A lot of progress has been made, but what’s next? What can we expect if we look ahead five years? Laurie makes six important predictions:

  1. A single unified standard (she refers to the Matter standard) to make devices and systems compatible
  2. Asynchronous caregiving, or the supplementing of human work staff with sensors (especially critical for night shift monitoring)
  3. Better alignment of the cost of care with what families (or providers) can afford. This again is a function of better integration sensing technology and in-person care
  4. Much more usage of predictive analysis. “Without accurate and useful analytics, sensor technologies are just gadgets.” There are too many false notifications, or notifications that are too easily ignored, or alerts that come too late to prevent injury. In the future, we’ll see more “automated production of analytics that aid in decision-making,” both in home health and institutional settings
  5. Much better data privacy protection. Apparently 63 per cent of health-care companies have reported security incidents related to “unmanaged Internet of Things devices.” The industry must — and will — do better
  6. Much easier moving from institutions to home. “Discharge processes in the future will need to incorporate an easy-to-setup sensor package, with monitoring by professionals and family”

A full and detailed report is coming out next month, and I’ll revisit the topic again and probably issue a new post with even more details.

David Cravit is a Vice-President at ZoomerMedia, and Chief Membership Officer of CARP. He is also the author of two books on the “reinvention” of aging. You can check out some of his other writing here.