Overcoming the Roadblocks of Aging: The Surprising Lessons from “Downton Abbey”

The days of butlers, footmen and personal valets are long past, but technology can provide a great array of substitutes to make aging in place more comfortable and manageable than ever before. It’s almost as nice as having a staff at Downton Abbey.

How do today’s technologies measure up to living in the famed manse? See for yourself!

How to clean your home efficiently: Mrs. Hughes vs. Roomba

Mrs. Hughes is delightful—warm, loving and loyal. But when it comes to cleaning house, Roomba gives her and her staff of housemaids some good competition. The zippy robot 'Downton Abbey' vs. technologyvacuum traverses your rooms to pick up dirt, hair and dust without complaint. When it needs charging, it heads over to its docking station for a rest. You hardly know it’s around, except that your floors are free of debris!

How to entertain yourself: Miss Sarah O’Brien vs. Netflix

Lady’s maids are a great help around the chamber—and an even better source of gossip and company. Today, seniors have Netflix to take O’Brien’s place. For only $8.99 a month, the world’s entertainment is at your fingertips. OK, so the TV cannot make your bed and brush your hair. But in terms of entertaining you without fail, and without getting tired, “Orange is the New Black” cannot be beat!

How to get from point A to point B: Tom Branson vs. Uber

Private drivers are the ultimate luxury. If you were Lady Grantham, you could summon your footman to ready your carriage and to run you across town. But having a private driver is hardly a thing of the past. Uber, a car service accessible to anyone with a smartphone, provides you with an army of private drivers who are ready to run you just about anywhere your heart desires. They are, as they say, “Everyone’s private driver.” Plus, you never have to worry about Uber running away with your daughter.

What’s wrong with me, doctor? Dr. Clarkson vs. HealthTap

Dr. Clarkson is the well-meaning Crawley family doctor. Unfortunately, he’s often proven incorrect. Rather than taking the word of one physician, modern seniors can trust the wisdom of crowds. HealthTap gives you free access to advice from thousands of trusted doctors, available 24/7/365. Ask any question free and anonymously. Pay a monthly subscription and you will get unlimited live consultations with physicians. Doctors can now make house calls through your phone and computer.

Cooking for seniors at home: Mrs. Beryl Patmore vs. the Yummly app and your microwave

You have to love dear old Mrs. Patmore and her sumptuous feasts! When the ingredients fail or work of the younger cooks falter, Mrs. Patmore unleashes her fury. Imagine how much easier her life would be if she could use her smartphone and the Yummly app like modern seniors can. Yummly helps search for recipes by ingredient, course and taste preference. Missing ingredients? Yummly can understand which ingredients you have and suggest the perfect recipe for what’s in your fridge.

On top of that, today’s seniors have an advantage Mrs. Patmore lacked—a microwave to speed their culinary creations! It cooks quickly, evenly, and without reliance on heated elements or hot surfaces that pose safety risks. It offers unprecedented convenience and luxury.

Conclusion

Downton runs into trouble because the Earl of Grantham is slow to embrace new technology. Luckily, he has smart daughters and a large staff to help him overcome life’s roadblocks. Learn from his mistakes; embrace these new technologies and make aging in place a breeze.

Shayne Fitz-Coy is the Co-CEO and President of Alert-1, an aging-in-place technology company headquartered in Williamsport, Pa., with offices nationwide. Shayne has a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Harvard College and a Masters in Business Administration from the Stanford Graduate School of Business. Shayne hails from Maryland, and now calls the Bay Area home.

 

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11 Responses to “Overcoming the Roadblocks of Aging: The Surprising Lessons from “Downton Abbey””

  1. Nick L says:

    Ha! Fantastic article. I had never thought of Roomba or Uber as aging in place tools, but Shayne is totally correct. Clever piece.

  2. KL says:

    What a unique take on aging in place! Who knew that Downton Abbey had so many lessons for seniors.

  3. Jessica says:

    I love Downton Abbey!! Thanks for the helpful tips.

  4. James S says:

    Mrs. Hughes would be an excellent addition to any household but I’ll take the Roomba as well!

  5. Chase McDowell says:

    I have to agree that these are some pretty good compromises. All such simple options, but they don’t leave much to complain about.

  6. janice says:

    i love watching downtown abbey with my daughter! i have to get that roomba thing!! ive been having touble with bending down lately and it would be so nice if that little thing cleaned my house by itself!

  7. Jackie Oakley says:

    I highly recommend Uber and Lyft as ways to get around. I don’t like driving on freeways, so whenever I have to go a distance I call one of these ride-sharing services. They’re great! And you meet so many nice people through them.

  8. Cathy says:

    Read this article last week and had my darling daughter download the Yummly app for me. It’s been working great so far, thanks for the recommendation!

  9. Laura J. says:

    Health Tap sounds interesting, though I’m not sure about the monthly subscription. But since I’m a hypochondriac it could be very useful to get immediate feedback for reassurance that I’m not terribly sick.

  10. Dan says:

    My girlfriend introduced me to Downton Abbey not that long ago. I was surprised to see it referenced on a senior health blog! But I was looking for information about taking care of my aging aunt and the title caught my eye. Thanks for the helpful information! I don’t think my aunt is tech savvy enough to use apps, but I might be able to convince her to get a Roomba. Thanks!

  11. Wilson says:

    I am getting of age and driving around is actually a hassle for me. Instead I use uber to get around the busy streets of San Francisco. I dont mind it, I actually enjoy it.

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