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Electric appliances in the households of the elderly

Activities of daily living of 32 million elderly living alone at home in Europe does matter. CleverGuard aims to support maintaining independent living through AI an non-intrusive load monitoring of electric appliances in the households.

Growing elderly population

According to the latest available data (Eurostat, 2021), approximately 96.5 million people aged 65 years and over lived in the European Union (EU) in 2020. This represents about 19% of the total population of the EU.

The country with the highest proportion of elderly people in its population in Italy, where 23% of the population is aged 65 and over. Other countries with high ratios of elderly people include Greece (22%), Portugal (22%), Germany (21%), and Finland (21%).

The proportion of elderly people is projected to increase in the coming years due to demographic changes and healthcare improvements, which allow people to live longer.

Living alone at home

Approximately one-third of people aged 65 and over in the European Union (EU) live alone. The proportion of elderly people living alone varies between Member States, ranging from 11% in Cyprus to 55% in Sweden.

Using electric appliances

The electric appliances used in a household of elderly people in Europe may vary depending on their preferences and needs, but here are some common appliances that are often used:

  1. Electric kettle: An electric kettle is a convenient appliance often used to boil water for tea or coffee.

  2. Toaster: A toaster is used to toast bread for breakfast or a light snack.

  3. Microwave oven: A microwave oven is used to reheat food quickly or cook simple meals such as soup, pasta, or vegetables.

  4. Electric cooker: An electric cooker is often used to prepare larger meals, such as roasts, stews, casseroles, and other dishes.

  5. Electric fan: An electric fan can help keep the home cool and comfortable in warmer months.

  6. Electric heater: In colder months, an electric heater can help keep the home warm and cozy.

  7. Electric vacuum cleaner: A vacuum cleaner keeps the home clean and tidy.

  8. Electric shaver: For elderly men, an electric shaver is often more convenient and more accessible to use than a traditional razor.

  9. Electric toothbrush: An electric toothbrush is often easier for those with arthritis or other mobility issues.

  10. Electric wheelchair or mobility scooter: For elderly people with mobility issues, an electric wheelchair or mobility scooter can help them move around the home or outdoors more easily.

Of course, this is not an exhaustive list, and the appliances used in a household may vary depending on individual needs and preferences.

Regional differences

The use of electric appliances at home can vary between countries depending on factors such as energy efficiency regulations, climate, lifestyle, and cultural preferences. Here are some general differences in the use of electric appliances at home between Italy, Belgium, Switzerland, and Hungary:

  1. Italy: In Italy, where the climate is generally warmer, air conditioning is less common in households than in other countries. Instead, Italians tend to rely more on fans or open windows to keep cool. Italian households also tend to use gas cooktops and ovens more than electric ones, as gas is generally less expensive than electricity.

  2. Belgium: In Belgium, energy efficiency regulations are strict, which means that households tend to use more energy-efficient appliances. For example, many homes use induction cooktops, which are more energy-efficient than gas or electric cooktops. Additionally, Belgium has a high rate of electric bike usage, as they are seen as a practical and eco-friendly mode of transportation.

  3. Switzerland: In Switzerland, the climate can vary widely depending on the region, with colder temperatures in the mountains and warmer temperatures in the valleys. As a result, households may use more heating appliances in the colder regions, such as electric heaters or wood-burning stoves. Swiss households also tend to have a higher usage of electric cars and charging stations, as Switzerland is a leader in electric vehicle adoption.

  4. Hungary: In Hungary, electricity is generally more expensive than gas, so households tend to use gas cooktops and ovens more frequently. Hungary also has a high usage of electric heating appliances, such as electric radiators or fan heaters, as winters can be quite cold.

Electric appliances and Activities of Daily Living (ADL)

There is a correlation between the usage of electric appliances and activities of daily living (ADL) among elderly people. ADLs are basic self-care tasks essential for independent living, such as bathing, dressing, grooming, and using the bathroom. Many electric appliances, such as electric toothbrushes, shower chairs, and lifting aids, can assist elderly people in performing these tasks independently, improving their quality of life and promoting their independence.

Electric appliances can also help with instrumental activities of daily living (IADL), which are more complex tasks necessary for independent living, such as cooking, cleaning, and managing finances. For example, electric stovetops and ovens, dishwashers, and vacuum cleaners can help elderly people perform these tasks more easily, contributing to their independence and well-being. Not all elderly people have access to or can afford electric appliances to assist them with ADLs or IADLs. Additionally, some elderly people may prefer to perform these tasks manually or with minimal assistance, depending on their preferences and capabilities.


CleverGuard brings insights into seniors’ habit changes in a non-intrusive way, supporting them to stay longer at home independently and fostering meaningful discussions between seniors and their carers.

Know more about CleverGuard:

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