IT

Home Smart Home – the shape of things to come?

McCarthy & Stone, on the 40th anniversary of the opening of its first retirement development, has commissioned a far-reaching report into how smart technologies in the home could transform independent living for future older generations.

‘Neighbourhoods of the Future’ by the Agile Ageing Alliance (AAA) – a campaigning social business committed to accelerating development of innovations that improve health and wellbeing in later life – concludes that, within the next 20 years, older people are likely to be living in an intelligent ‘Cognitive Home’ that is almost human, and which is able to assess and manage individual needs and desires.

It is the first report commissioned by the housing sector to look at the role new technologies could play in helping to manage the challenges and opportunities presented by a rapidly ageing population.

Chief information officer at McCarthy & Stone, Tracey McDermott, said: “Helping older people to move at the right time and in the right way could enable them to live independently for longer and improve their quality of life, at the same time as freeing up homes for other buyers and reducing costs to the social care and health systems.

“At a time that Government is reviewing housing and planning policy it is more important than ever to consider the changing needs for older people’s housing now, and in the future. New policies must address the many barriers that exist to building more age-friendly housing, but also make sure the right type of properties are being developed.”

The report indicates how future retirees are open to the idea of a cognitive and empathetic home with human qualities. They also anticipate smart non-intrusive, secure connections with friends, family, GPs and/or carers who keep an eye on those who look after them. They expect transparency in relationships and information. They look out for value for money.

They also want IT companies to think about consumers’ service experience and the journeys they go on. They love people competing for their business and do not like monopoly suppliers. They are getting used to and want more cool tech and, perhaps most importantly of all, they want providers to focus on them as ‘customers’, not as patients, end users, or care clients.

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