Details for TECH CULTURE

How empty-nesters
can transform their
homes
After bringing home a bubbly baby
boy or girl, it can be hard for parents
to imagine that a day will come when
their kids are off to college and then
onto their own apartment or house.
After spending decades nurturing
and caring for children, parents are
then left with a suddenly quiet house
and probably much more time to
spare. If saying goodbye to the kids
also means extra house, there’s the
option to downsize or make that
extra space more useful.
Homeowners who choose to stay
put can renovate vacant rooms into
spaces that meet their newfound
needs.
• Hobby haven: If you’ve always
meant to set up a crafting room,
home-brewing station or an artist’s
studio, now is an ideal time to do just
that. Figure out which supplies you
will need and begin reworking that
former bedroom into a new sanctuary for leisure interests.
• Guest suite: If you’ve never had a
spare bedroom to entertain guests,
a child’s former bedroom can fit
the bill. It may not be that difficult

to transform such spaces into
relaxing and inviting rooms for
overnight guests. Be sure there
is at least a queen-sized bed and
a dresser or chest of drawers to
stash belongings. Select paint
colors and linens in neutral
tones so the room will be inviting to guests.

• Living room redo: When
there’s an entire soccer team
coming over to hang out, that
large sectional sofa or modular
seating may be ideal. Now that
the kids are out of the house and
their friends are no longer coming over for movie night, living
rooms can be made more intimate with small-scale seating. A
small sofa and two comfortable chairs
may be a more fitting option.
• At-home gym: Save on gym
membership fees by building a mini
studio right at home. Choose one of
the larger bedrooms and then fill it
with some fitness equipment, such
as an elliptical trainer, a bench press
bench and some free weights. Store
rolled-up mats in the closet for yoga
or Pilates sessions.

• Expanded bathroom: If space
has always been at a premium in
the bathroom, borrow area from an
empty bedroom and turn it into a
spa. Install a soaking tub separate
from the shower, and fill the room
with other amenities, such as a warming lamp or even a small sauna.
• Home office: Working from home a
few days a week may be more plausible when nearing retirement, as it will

be a smoother transition from heading to the office each day to spending
more time at home. Turn a bedroom
or den into an office space with a new
desk and bookshelves.
An empty nest can be a bittersweet
experience, but parents can make
such situations work for them by
transforming their homes to better
reflect their current needs.

Seniors becoming more
tech-savvy
Technology is the future, and digital
communication has opened many
doors for people around the world.
Although younger generations have
grown up with technology at their
fingers, Baby Boomers and older
adults did not. But in spite of that,
studies show that growing numbers
of seniors are open to the idea of
technology and even seeking ways
to further their use and knowledge.
According to a 2014 study by Pew
Research Center, 59 percent of
seniors regularly use the internet - a
6 percent increase from the previous
study conducted in 2012. Today, 67
percent of adults age 65 and older
say they go online.
Pew also says that, although seniors
consistently have lower rates of
technology adoption than the general public, four in 10 seniors now
own smartphones, which is more
than double the amount that did
in 2013. Seniors in Australia are
especially tech savvy, as Deloitte’s
mobile consumer survey found 78
percent of Australian seniors aged
65 to 75 own a smartphone, up
from 69 percent in 2016.

for families to stay informed and
provide assistance even if they are
not nearby.
SilverSurfers, a senior-based information website, says other tech that
seniors are embracing includes online dating; audio and digital books;
online shopping, which is especially
valuable to seniors who have mobility issues; and social media, which
can keep seniors connected to others and feeling less lonely.
A study conducted by researchers
from the University of California,
San Francisco found 18 percent of
American seniors live alone, and
43 percent report feeling lonely
on a regular basis. Loneliness can
increase death risk. Social media
and internet connectivity can be an

While stereotypes have long
painted seniors as technologically
inept, seniors are actually more
socially and digitally engaged than
ever before. Seniors use technology
in many different ways. Some use
mobile apps to manage medications and doctor’s appointments
and monitor their fitness regimens.
Some families employ 24/7 alert
systems or smarthome technology
to keep seniors comfortable and
safe at home for as long as possible.
Noninvasive, ‘smart’ technology
can analyze factors such as whether
or not doors are left open, if there
has been movement in a home, or
whether appliances/lights are on
or off. This represents a great way

important tool in helping seniors
feel like active members of society.
Technology is no longer just for
teenagers or active workers. Seniors
are increasingly embracing technology and becoming a fast-growing
demographic for tech usage.

Adopting a dog or cat
later in life
Companion animals bring great joy
to their owners. The unconditional
love cats and dogs provide appeals to
people of all ages. While many people
associate pets with kids who can’t
wait to welcome the first cat or dog
into their homes, pets can benefit aging men and women as well.
It’s not uncommon for seniors to feel
lonely or depressed when they retire,
their children move away or they lose
a spouse or close friend or friends.
The American Humane Society states
that studies show pets help seniors
overcome loneliness and depression
by providing affection, company
and entertainment. Pets also provide
much-needed mental stimulation,
and many pet owners find their pets
help them become more physically
active as well.
Seniors who adopt pets may also feel
a sense of purpose when helping animals who may not have anywhere to
live. This is particularly true of older
companion animals, which many
young families are understandably
hesitant to adopt. Mature pets might
be an ideal fit for seniors. When seniors are looking to adopt a pet, there
are various reasons why older pets
or particular animals might be the

perfect fit for them.
• Adult pets may already be house
trained, saving seniors the trouble
and effort of training them.
• Seniors may find cats fit their lifestyles more than dogs, as cats are less
active and do not need to be walked
or played with as much as dogs. Cats
also are small and easily maneuverable, meaning even seniors who have
arthritis or other physical limitations
can easily care for cats. Many cats are
also content to spend long periods of
time sleeping on their owners’ laps.
• Small dogs that can be active within
the house might be a good idea
as well, especially for seniors with
mobility issues. They’re also easily
transported to and from vet appointments.
It’s important that seniors carefully
weigh the benefits of adopting a pet
against any limitations they may
have. Having a backup plan for care is
advantageous as well. Seniors should
not adopt a pet if they anticipate
frequent travel or medical care that
requires they be away from home for
long periods of time.

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