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Older, stylish woman embracing her age

Preparing for Aging in Place

By Michael W. Hoffman, Esquire, CPA

As I celebrate another birthday month and begin coasting towards the end of another decade, topics about getting older interest me more.  I came across an excellent article written by a couple of California attorneys, Jeffrey Allen and Ashley Hallene, titled “6 Essential Tools for Aging in Place.”   It was published in the January/February 2022 issue of the American Bar Association’s Experience magazine, a periodical advocating for experienced “senior lawyers and their families.”

The article pointed out that while we eat right, exercise, work on keeping our mind sharp and being happy, WE STILL AGE.  As we get older, we often experience reduced hearing, poor eye sight, reduced muscle mass and less balance.  We are often not as mentally and physically fit as we used to be.  The authors suggested six tools that could greatly assist our transition into this golden phase of our lives and assist in maintaining our flexibility and independence.

Tool #1:  The Smart Phone.  The authors referred to the smart phone as the “swiss army knife needed for aging in place.” A smart phone provides connectivity to friends, family, medical assistance, etc.  The phone allows us to communicate verbally, by text, email, share photos, and participate in video calls, including the growing popularity of tele-med capabilities.  The thousands of apps provided on smart phones include features that allow users to connect to home security, keep track of calendars, store photos, books, music and movies, pay bills (e.g., Apple Pay, Venmo, etc.), store records and stay informed (e.g., Google, Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube, etc.).

Tool #2:  Smart Security. The advent of camera monitoring has become the norm.  I am told by insurance experts that security systems have a significant effect on property and casualty insurance premiums, and, in some cases, may become required for successful underwriting.  Security lighting, motion detection, Alexa voice features all add to our ability to secure our persons and property.  Consider peep hole cameras, that, in fact, are portable.  There are two-way talking capabilities and the added deterrent of saved recordings and pictures.

Tool #3:  Smart Sensors.  Sensors can activate lighting. For instance, lights can be turned on when one enters a room.  Sensors can send alerts.  Alerts could be something as simple as letting you know you left the refrigerator door open, to creating an alarm if someone has not left their bedroom today.

Tool #4:  Smart Speakers.  This tool would include digital, voice activated assistance, which can be placed in any room.   Alexa and Echo devices come to mind.  They provide safety, service and memory aids.  They can be used to adjust the locks, temperatures, and communicate with other devices, such as smart TVs and smart phones.  Alexa smart speakers have over 100,000 functions.  Echo devices provide video, including wide angle movable cameras.  Additional functions include “ask my buddy”, which is a security feature to voice activate emergency contacts.  Smart speakers can be used to call Uber/Lyft, coordinate a group chat and Zoom, and be integral to other security measures, such as alerting you if it detects certain sounds like an alarm or break in.

Tool #5:  A Smart Pill Dispenser.  I swore when I was young, I would never use a pill dispenser like my parents, but the joke is on me.  Every two weeks, I diligently fill my pill dispenser with the meds, vitamins, supplements that I am committed to taking daily.  No doubt, the older we get, meds become time consuming and can be confusing.  More advanced smart automatic pill dispensers are available, and can be tied to mobile apps with notifications and reminders.  These advanced techniques allow for monitoring and potential alarms if there are irregularities.

Tool #6:  Activity Tracker.  These include wearables that can monitor movement, and even detect changes in heart rate and blood oxygen levels.  They have advanced to the point of built-in speakers and smart phone capabilities, monitoring heart rates, sleep and exercise. Detecting falls may become more important as we age gracefully.

The goal is to successfully age in place.  Stay current and age gracefully by incorporating these tools into your everyday life!


  • Mike Hoffman

    Mike is the founding and managing partner of Hoffman & Associates and oversees the general operations and personnel of the firm. He works primarily in the estate planning practice helping clients minimize the effect of the estate tax, ensure orderly transition of generations in family businesses, and maximize asset protections. Mike also devotes a considerable amount of his efforts to the business law and tax planning needs of the firm’s clients. He is licensed to practice in the States of Georgia, Ohio, and Tennessee, and is a Certified Public Accountant.

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