An elderly woman using a smart home device attached to the wall

How smart homes help the elderly live with freedom for longer


Clever tech innovations enable seniors to live at home with a sense of independence and offer peace of mind for caregivers and relatives

We've partnered with The Telegraph to create a series of articles designed to help you embrace connectivity and use tech for good.

With every day that passes, all life on this planet grows older. For most of us there will come a time when we stop feeling older and start feeling old.

This may sound grim, but it’s not. In fact, there’s never been a better time to grow old.

The good news is that we live in a rapidly ageing society at a time when connected technology is changing how we live at an unprecedented rate. Put bluntly, the more older people there are, the more focus there is on using new technology to improve their lives.

Much of this new technology is already available, helping older people to lead the lives they choose for longer than has ever previously been possible. Whether you are concerned for yourself or an ageing relative, the options continue to multiply at a rate that can be mind-boggling. Where do you start?

Start at the beginning. For any connected technology to function at its best, you need a reliable internet connection. Rock-solid broadband like EE’s Hybrid Connect is an essential foundation on which to build an independent, productive life for an older person.

An elderly woman using her smart watch and smart technology in her kitchen

Lightening the load


Although most older people are computer literate, help and advice on a variety of topics are available from charities such as Age UK or AbilityNet. Or—ahem—from younger relatives.

A good internet connection allied to a tablet, desktop computer or smartphone allows families who live miles or even continents apart to stay in touch via video or audio calls with unprecedented ease. A recent study by Age UK found that 6.6 million people aged between 40 and 60 who are considering caring for or supporting an older parent in the future, worry that they wouldn’t know how to support them. Regular communication is a great start.

The internet delivers, too. There’s nothing you can’t buy online. Trudging back from a weekly shop with heavy bags can be a thing of the past thanks to online ordering and delivery. Some online delivery services will even unpack and store shopping if requested. Get everything from new clothes to medication delivered, or treat yourself and have a full meal from your favourite restaurant in the comfort of your own home.

An elderly couple looking at a laptop together in their kitchen

Bringing clarity to the complex


Older people often need to follow complex routines around medication. The internet can help here. There are smart apps that will remind people when and how to take their tablets, and can notify relatives if a dose is missed or forgotten. There are even smart pill dispensers that release the required medication at the right time.

For people who are growing fragile, unobtrusive motion-sensitive monitoring devices can learn their routines and send alerts to family or friends when these routines are not followed. These systems rely on motion and door sensors, or on smart plug sockets (which can tell concerned friends and relatives—for example—the last time a kettle was boiled), rather than on intrusive video monitoring.

Small personal alarm devices triggered by a fall can also send alerts to relatives, friends, doctors, or emergency services as appropriate.

There’s one final advantage that connected technology can offer older people: peace of mind. Modern home security systems linked to the internet can include doorbell and wireless cameras as well as smoke detectors.

In 2020, according to a report by the United Nations’ International Telecommunication Union, there were an estimated 727 million people aged 65 years or older in the world. By 2050, that number is expected to reach 1.5 billion. To help us live longer, more active and healthier lives, a connected world is the best way ahead. 

More articles from EE Home

What can EE do?

EE helps to make homes smarter with a variety of connected home packages that include everything from reliable, high-speed broadband to advanced home security solutions with an emergency response time of 60 seconds. For older people, EE offers a wealth of resources, help and advice. This includes basic computer tips, advice on how to avoid online scams and more – such as EE’s cybersecurity partnership with Norton, which protects computers and mobile devices against ransomware, viruses, spyware, malware and other online threats.