Our homes have, for centuries, been our castles, but thanks to technology our “castles” are changing faster than ever before.
And the rapid adoption of AgeTech we will once again redefine “home”.
Just two generations ago, when our grandparents were youngsters it was common to be born, live your entire life in the same town. But globalisation, economic migration, advances in travel and technology mean that today’s society is more dispersed than ever.
An estimated 5.5m British people live permanently abroad – almost one in 10 of the UK population. Of the 784,900 British citizens living in the EU alone, 26% (207,300) are aged 65 and over.
Domestically, the UK has a higher rate of internal migration than most other European countries. In 2014 as many as 2.9 million people moved town, often to migration hotspots such as London and the south east.
And research shows that the wealthier people are, the further they live from their parents. Workers earning less than £25,000 live on average around 31 miles from their family, those earning £35,000 to £45,000 live 42 miles away while those earning more than £55,000 lived 47 miles away.
But as parents grow older it is often their children who take on roles as informal carers – and distance can mean the difference between seeing a loved one daily or perhaps weekly or even less.
And that distance burdens the family with guilt. How much time can, and should, they spend?
Whether it’s a weekly visit to take gran to the shops or simply popping in for a cup of tea – caring has time implications. And a lot of that time is actually wasted on things that bring no value, such as the travel to the loved one’s home, and not the human contact that’s being delivered. No one benefits from time spent in traffic on a motorway or on a crowded train. In fact, the cost and stress make you less inclined to make the journey.
Technology needs to provide balance
Technology needs to ensure that it doesn’t reduce human contact time; but instead that it replaces mundane tasks with meaningful together-time.
Dashing out of the office at lunchtime to check on an elderly parent is almost certainly stressful and impacts on your work productivity. So making a quick check up via a video call makes sense. It provides peace of mind without disrupting work.
As seniors become older and more frail, their mobility decreases. Often it becomes the fear of leaving the house as opposed to the actual condition that prevents them from going out. So if granny can’t go to a grandchild’s party – make a video call via the TV? Or save the video and photos and upload them to the Kraydel hub.
If your elderly parents are living in Spain or the grandchildren have emigrated to Australia; then stay in touch via video calling. Privacy settings and opt-ins means that the family can set reminders and alerts via the TV. Alternatively they can be given access to the data dashboard showing that the senior’s day is underway.
By making the TV the heart of the home we are bringing meaningful contact to a safe and comfortable environment. We want TV “FaceTime” to be quality time. Not wasted on a small fiddly screen, but rather enjoyed on the largest and brightest screen in the home.
Of course we want families to spend more time in person, together. But for those moments when you can’t be there – Kraydel will be.