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Aging in Place: The Case for Technology

Concerns When Aging

Although mobility seems to draw the most attention in media articles, there are several issues that concern people as they age. Independence is one that is usually tied to personal mobility and transportation, but it also has to do with health care. Can a person remain living on their own? Another concern is regarding money and finances. Will there be enough retirement savings to cover the cost of living while maintaining an established lifestyle? These concerns also are directly affected by the feeling of security.

The Case For Technology

Home automation systems and modern technology have made it easier to maintain independent living. Lighting, audio/visual, security, and emergency notification are all concerns and conveniences that have been improved by technology. Even the centralized control of all the home’s mechanical systems on one computer has not only made it easier for individuals by allowing access from remote locations. Automated homes allow owners as well as family members to check conditions from remote locations via the internet to insure all is well.A home automation company we use in Atlanta is Digital Interiors.

The new technology can assist families in programming controls to turn on/off lights, controlling thermostats, operating draperies or blinds, and setting alarms. It can even program numbers to be dialed in the event of an emergency. Motion censors can be placed in rooms for security, but also to let out of town family members know that relatives are up and moving around. Whole home audio and theatre type A/V controls are most often used, but so much more is available.

Technology In Home Design

Passive Solar Homes

Other than relying just on home automation technology, sustainable design has caused more attention to building energy efficient homes. Passive solar homes that rely on orientation for better use of sunlight to illuminate the interior during the day, captures the sun’s warmth during winter, and shading the hot summer sun are simple cost effective strategies for new homes. However, stricter Energy requirements have driven mechanical systems and appliances to become increasingly efficient as well as light and plumbing fixtures. All of this adds up to less operating costs for homeowners.

Southface.org is a great reference for sustainable design. Read one of their fact sheets on passive solar design.

Material Use

How building technology has improved to provide more energy efficient exterior envelopes for houses is not always discussed. Dual pane windows, house wrap (Tyvek and the more recent Zip System), higher performance insulation (cellulose and spray foam), and sealed exteriors having mechanical systems with outside make up air  for improved indoor air quality, are just a few items that consumers are becoming aware of in the home-building industry. This construction technology in conjunction with all energy efficient systems, appliances, and fixtures allows newer homes to pay dividends or give relatively quick returns on the initial investment. These life cycle costs can become critical in the future as the cost for energy increases.

States have different regulations on window energy ratings. Learn more about U-Factors & R-values for windows here.What type of insulation is best for you?Learn more about Energy efficient appliances and energy ratings at EnergyStar.gov

Aging in Place

Jones Pierce brings their collective experience to help guide people in making the decisions and strategies to best accommodate their dreams. As couples plan for retirement or consider building a lifetime home for their family, considering future expenses, health care, and their general lifestyle are all part of the initial programming for the home. We will assist in helping clients assess strategies, front end costs, and future renovations as we develop the preliminary master plan. Our skill set is designing flexibility for a house to adapt as the family grows and shrinks. Assisting in developing a dream that can live on for generations is our privilege.

Read more on Aging in Place:

https://jonespierce.com/aging-in-place/

Cooper Pierce, Principal Jones Pierce Inc. An Atlanta based Architectural firm specializing in custom home transformations and custom retirement homes in fun places.   cooper@jonespierce.com

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