82% of multigenerational families say that living together has increased their bonds among family members, according to a study published by Generations United. As COVID-19 has led to increased hardships throughout the United States, many families have taken the opportunity to use this time to live together and create lasting memories they couldn’t before.
“Multigenerational households are like beehives; everyone has their own unique purpose in the living environment, and contributes to the success of the hive,” says Lisa Cini, aging expert, and author of Hive: The Simple Guide to Multigenerational Living: How Our Family Makes it Work, BOOM: The Baby Boomers Guide to Leveraging Technology, so that you can Preserve Your Independent Lifestyle & Thrive, and The Future is Here: Senior Living Re-imagined. “Unfortunately, society views our older family members as a hindrance; however, living together under one roof shows us that our loved ones provide much more than just hugs and kisses, they provide lifelong lessons and experiences we wouldn’t get to appreciate and understand with just a yearly visit or update from a nurse’s aide.”
From her own experience, when preparing to live in a multigenerational household, Lisa recommends the below tips and technologies to help assist with safety and comfort for all family members:
- Move from fear to freedom: Living with an older loved one doesn’t have to mean being cautious of their every move. It means designing a space they can feel comfortable in. Design each room with Lisa’s signature design: L.O.V.E, which stands for Light, Optimize, Visualize & Ease. Integrate plenty of natural light, to regulate sleep cycles. Optimize the space by including items that will help with mobility while adding personal touches. Visualize each room by giving it a clear purpose, like eating dinner at the dining room table versus in front of the TV or alone in a separate room. Ease in navigating clear paths to the bathroom, etc.
- Make the household user friendly for each generation: Depending on levels of mobility, households will need to be retrofitted to avoid slips and trips to the emergency room. If older members of the family have issues with using the restroom on their own, a perfect addition to the bathroom is installing a bidet. A Brondell bidet replaces a normal toilet seat that both washes and blows dry. Plus, it’s customizable, heated, and includes both a splash guard and a nightlight.
- Fire safety isn’t just for kids: Make sure that everyone is being safe while they cook with tech devices like iGuardStove and FireAvert, which automatically shuts the stove off if food starts smoking to prevent a fire or burned pan from unattended or forgotten cooking.
- Exercise: Wellness devices like Fitbit, Garmin, Apple watch, and Kardia are all great tools to keep the family moving. Arrange a 10-minute group exercise and get creative. Depending on mobility, the entire family can take walks around the neighborhood, do yoga, or even chair exercises on rainy days.
- Utilize remote health monitoring devices: The Livio AI hearing aid has fall detection and tracks body and brain health in 27 languages. MouthLab by Aidar Health monitors more than 10 medical parameters like temperature, respiratory rate, blood pressure, breathing patterns, heart rate, lung function, and more in 30 seconds. CarePredict assesses day to day movements including sleep, walking, eating, and more. The MedWand handheld device allows users to conduct remote office visits and, uses real-time collection of vital sign readings, to accurately monitor medical conditions regardless of location.
- Control moods: Hapbee is a wearable device and smartphone app that can make you feel happy, calm, sleepy, alert, focused, etc. with the click of a button. Also, the Human Charger introduces light therapy through ear buds to reach the photoreceptors of the brain, which can help those who may have the winter blues, sleep issues, or just want more energy and alertness.
- Get a care free companion pet: Hasbro Joy for All companion pets are designed to bring comfort, companionship and fun for older loved ones who may not be able to get out and walk, feed, or care for a real dog or cat. These pets deliver a soothing, joyful experience that inspires smiles, laughter, and fond memories.
- Keep the House Clean: With just the push of a button, iRobot Braava Jet 240 Robot Mop wet- and dry-mops your floors and is tiny enough to get under cabinets, beds, furniture and even around the toilet!
“Living together is a wonderful experience, enjoyed by millions of families across the world. By using simple technologies, we can help our older loved ones stay safe and comfortable,” adds Cini. “I can guarantee that though times are tough, family helps to make it through to the end of the tunnel.”
Lisa Cini is an award-winning senior living designer, President / CEO of Mosaic Design Studio and author of BOOM: The Baby Boomers Guide to Leveraging Technology, so that you can Preserve Your Independent Lifestyle & Thrive, The Future is Here: Senior Living Re-imagined, and Hive, The Simple Guide to Multigenerational Living: How Our Family Makes it Work. Go to Lisamcini.com to sign up for her blog. If you want to find the best tech products that help seniors Embrace Aging and Live Independently, visit BestLivingTech.com.