Many caregivers feel like they need an extra set of eyes, ears and hands to address the needs of their elder family members, and some turn to technology for help. Best Buy Co. is now hoping to jump into this market with geriatric-care product packages to help caregivers look after family members in their own homes.
Smart-home products for caregivers include networked gear such as security cameras, thermostats and door locks that can be managed by voice controllers or smartphones. There are also tech options that can monitor sleeping patterns, or set off an alarm when someone gets out of bed. As any caregiver knows, being able to keep an eye remotely on an older person, especially if they are suffering from cognitive decline, is essential.
Best Buy Chief Executive Officer Hubert Joly envisions rolling out a broader business of sensor-based senior services, Bloomberg Businessweek reports, which will be sold through health-and-wellness departments in the 1,000+ Best Buy stores around the country. For now, two pilot projects, called Assured Living, are open in Denver and the Twin Cities area. An entry-level package of gear sells for $389.96 with installation an extra $199 and monitoring services priced at $29 a month.
With many families seeking to keep their older family members at home, rather than in assisted living facilities, the smart-home market is booming. Amazon.com, Google, Microsoft and Samsung also target this market with products that could easily be tailored to keep an eye on the elderly, Bloomberg reports.
A 2016 report cosponsored by AARP showed that 71 percent of caregivers are interested in technology to support their caregiving tasks, but only 7 percent are already using technology available in the market. To make the technology less daunting, Best Buy is using a trained sales team, including members who specialize in dementia.
“Best Buy’s staff needs to have some inkling about who these people are,” Jody Holtzman, senior vice president for market innovation at AARP, told Bloomberg. “You have to have something that resonates with the senior as well as the caregiver who is writing the check.”
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