According to a 2018 Pew Research study, baby boomers (aged 52-70) have been America’s largest living adult generation from the 1950s right up until this year. And according to AARP, age 65+ adults are expected to outnumber children by 2030. All boomers and one-fifth of the total population will have reached 65 by that year.
It’s a market that you shouldn’t ignore, especially given the fact that most seniors—nearly 90% says AARP—want to stay in their homes as they age. Even if they begin to need day-to-day assistance, most (82 percent) would prefer the aging-in-place option.
Also boding well for integrators hoping to capture this market: A recent 2018 AARP report shows that many Americans over 50 are embracing technology to stay connected with their families and the world in general.
More than 90% of adults over 50 have a computer or laptop, and more than 70% have a smartphone. In other words, technology has begun to appeal to this older demographic, creating greater opportunity for home systems integrators.
Erase the “I’ve fallen and I can’t get up” scenario from your mind.
These days, seniors are much more tech-savvy than to rely solely on a push-button pendant to maintain a safe, independent lifestyle. There are many products and systems that can be catered to their needs—and without impacting their dignity.
Electronic smart locks, for example, offer numerous benefits to both the seniors who live at home, their family members, and their caregivers.
With one product, you can cater to the needs of several “customers”—the senior who uses the lock for easy access and security (no key to misplace or lose); the caregiver for access into the house; and family member for monitoring the comings and goings of their loved one—and change the entry codes of the lock remotely if necessary.
Selling the Smart Lock: Five Scenarios for the Aging-in-Place Market
1. Smart locks can provide customized access.
Individual access codes can be provided to any authorized people who might need access to the home and its residents. These can be service technicians, such as plumbers or electricians, or they can be healthcare professionals authorized to enter in the event of a medical emergency.
Homeowners and caregivers can establish, in advance, who can have access to the home and when they can have it.
A home healthcare aide is coming at 11 a.m? Give them a time-sensitive code. A neighbor will checking in at 2 p.m.? They can have a scheduled code as well. This offers a degree of security and peace of mind that you can’t get from any other home automation device.
2. Smart locks allow adult children to monitor their elder’s activity.
The lock itself can be viewed as a kind of “sensor” providing information about what is going on inside a home – who has been granted access and when. Family members and caregivers have to play a central role in making this work.
Locks can be programmed to send out emails and texts regarding who is accessing the home. Caregivers need to configure these communications around the specific information they want to get.
They also need to monitor these communications to ensure security and safety is maintained.
For example, they need to monitor who is locking or unlocking a door and at what time. They need to be aware of if any exceptions have been allowed (such as providing a short-term access code to a service provider).
3. Smart locks allow adult children to monitor their elder’s INactivity.
If a lock has not been opened for a day or two, caregivers need to recognize this as a red flag. It is a sign that a well-being check could be in order.
Also, if the smart lock is determined to be unlocked, during the nighttime when the senior is likely to be asleep or at a time when the resident is known to be away from home, the caregiver can remotely lock the device as a precaution.
4. Smart locks can simplify caregiver management and make it safer.
Because access codes can be changed and multiple codes can be used, keys never have to be provided to caretakers.
It’s a reality that caretakers such as nurses and even housekeepers change over time; with smart locks, when caretakers change, codes can change, so there is never a worry about where those stray keys have gone.
Access availability can also be scheduled for a caregiver, designating specific times of day when their code will work.
5. Smart locks are front and central.
The smart lock not only provides access control at the senior homeowner's fingertips, it creates home automation system control right at the front door.
It delivers the ultimate in convenience, allowing seniors to set up their home the way they like it with custom smart home scenarios, just before they step inside.
For example, residents can program their lock so that every time they unlock the door, the hall light goes on, the temperature rises to a set level, and the shades go up. Multiple actions can be accomplished by simply unlocking the door.
Your Calling Card for Future Sales
Even if your customers express disinterest in using the smart lock as a trigger device for lights, thermostats, and other features, they may likely change their minds and the needs of the senior at home changes.
For example, they may not see a need for the hallway lights to activate as they enter the house now, but they might find this feature invaluable later on.
Stay in regular contact with your aging-in-place clients—they could become your most loyal customers.
As North American sales manager for Kwikset Residential Access Solutions, Nick English is responsible for the management of all sales and distribution through Pro Security channels, including sales and performance management of territory sales managers and key account managers. English creates, develops, and manages division strategy for the Security / Home Automation channels, and the associated National Accounts, Direct Accounts, and Distribution partners and installing dealers within each channel.