Mark Jarman, president, Inovonics - Inovonics is a leader in high-performance wireless sensor networks for commercial and life safety applications. (www.inovonics.com)
The uncertainty of the housing market combined with the aging baby boom generation is prompting developers to plan hundreds of new senior housing units across the country. According to the American Health Care Association, the number of people aged 65 and older is supposed to almost double to more than 71 million by the year 2030.
A key indicator of these rapidly growing trends can be seen in an announcement made last week by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) (portal.hud.gov/portal/page/portal/HUD/press/press_releases_media_advisories/2010/HUDNo.10-165) stating that it awarded almost $20 million to four states for conversion of existing multi-family apartment dwellings into assisted living senior care facilities.
The monies will allow the elderly an opportunity to age in a place in familiar surroundings as they become older and require supportive services. However, the ability to move quickly while keeping costs down to convert these living quarters so that states can take advantage of the federal funding poses a challenge. Existing buildings need to have life safety devices and call systems installed to ensure that seniors can receive help and assistance immediately if needed. Traditionally, this required re-wiring of the existing structure, which is costly and labor- and time-intensive. The grants are awarded on a competitive basis.
During the review process, HUD assesses several ranking factors including: the extent to which the conversion is needed by the persons that the project is intended to serve and the capacity of the project owner to carry out the conversion in a timely and effective manner. How do property owners who wish to take advantage of the federal funding overcome the potential challenges in making their existing apartment complexes "assisted living-ready"
Commercial-grade wireless products provide the best solution for retrofitting a call system and life safety capabilities into existing facilities without pulling wire and disrupting the building's structure. Specifically designed for security and life safety applications, wireless sensor network products can be quickly and easily installed to provide emergency call and life safety capabilities for apartment buildings as well as be used in situations where the location of a mobile alarming device (duress pendant) can be identified anywhere across a building or campus. The result is building owners can retrofit their existing apartment complexes quickly at lower cost than traditional wired approaches and be assured of proven, reliable performance for their senior residents.