We have become more aware than ever when in the COVID-19 situation, we have seen how older people are the most vulnerable and the more isolated population sector.

This pandemic has highlighted a need that already existed, making it more evident than ever, the need to put PropTech at the service of the elderly.

According to the Spanish National Statistics Institute, there are more than 9 million people over 65 years old in Spain, a figure that is increasing because, in our country, we have an inverted population triangle.

Technology can reduce social assistance costs and improve the quality of life. We might think that the older ones would have to do complicated learning due to their lack of experience with technology. But, technology is adaptable, so we can design it to be easy for everyone, isn´t it?

If the answer is no, it will be because companies are not interested in developing technologies for those who are going to consume it for a relatively short time, and prefer to focus on younger consumers. But that, in addition to being unfair, is limiting the development of making the technology more accessible, easy and intuitive for everyone. We are not talking about reinventing the wheel, or yes, maybe we can rethink the technologies that we already have, make them more accessible, and bring them closer to a broad market niche.

Many CEOs and proptech investors may think that the elderly are not exactly up to date on technological information and that they would not buy their products due to the lack of knowledge. In this case, they would not be the direct link but their relatives, associations, residences, or medical personnel. How could technology improve the lives of older people with an immediate application?

  • Reducing loneliness: Making it easier for people to communicate with a simple voice command, see the image of the person you are talking to wherever you are without coverage problems. Where are you, 5G?
  • Increasing security: Homes can have sensors to detect falls, voice controls to warn others that you are not feeling well.
  • Domotizing: Means not having to make efforts. Avoiding movements at home. Here you will find some examples: lowing and raising the blinds, automatic thermostats, monitoring repairments, automatically purchasing pharmacy, or supermarket necessary items when they are about to end just with voice control.
  • Contact with the doctor: To be able to make a video call with the doctor or specialist, avoiding displacements that sometimes are real torture.
  • Robotics: Smart homes become smarter with robotics, from air purifiers to company robots or cleaning and home care machines.
  • Health control systems: mattresses that measure your temperature, your sleep, your movements, and send you warnings. Or smart toilets are also more evolved every day, warning even if the user suffers from dehydration.
  • Future: Okay, this is very futuristic, but what if your house warned you that you have not taken the pill, that it seems that you are sick, that today you have a high temperature or quite the contrary, go for a walk! It´s a beautiful day. Go to have a walk!

All this applies to both homes and residences, which can be transformed into smart places by facilitating communications and services, without needing complicated technologies for the user, using voice commands or facial recognition. These technologies would allow older people to live independently, having control and autonomy for a longer time.

Sheila Gracia

Service´s Director at the Real Estate Agents Association in Catalonia