How Home Security Can Assist Seniors, Their Families and Caregivers
Feeling safe and secure in your own home is important, especially if you’re a senior who lives alone or who has health or mobility concerns. Some seniors have unique circumstances which may include issues with memory, cognitive ability and decreased activity levels, increasing their vulnerability. Criminals target seniors to commit scams, fraud, robbery or financial abuse, and 59% of crime against the elderly occurs at or near their home.
At the same time, many seniors require health aides, caregivers and other service providers to be in and out of their homes, so finding the right security system can be tricky. Is there a one-size security system that fits all? The answer is “no.” Security should be individualized to meet each family’s needs. Here are some tips to help you find security systems that fit your individual home, health and safety needs—providing both protection and flexibility.
Protecting your home
A home security system can be your first line of protection, especially if you live alone and have caregivers coming in to help you. It can also help when you are away visiting family. Look at security options that have critical features and a good reputation for dependability. Consider the following:
- Smart Locks: Try automated deadbolt locks, which allow home access to family or caregivers via a smartphone. You don’t have to give out a key or go to the door to let people into the home. You can give or take away home access right from your phone and have a record of who and when anyone, including caregivers, has been in your home.Some companies offering locks are August, Schlage Sense, Poly-Control Danalock, Kwikset, Kevo, and Yale Real Living. They range in cost from $99-$250.
- Motion Sensor Lighting: Motion sensor lights activate when someone is at your door or in the yard, which can help prevent vandalism. The lighting can also ensure better visibility and safety for yourself and caregivers walking up steps or walkways after dark. The lights turn on automatically without you having to flip a light switch.Look for sensors at your local hardware store or online—average cost begins at $30 per sensor.
- Smart Doorbells: Replace your doorbell with a smart doorbell, which includes a video camera at the door. The device integrates with a smartphone and sends a video to your phone so you can see who is at your door. You can set the system to alert you when an exterior door opens. This is helpful for family members checking in on aging loved ones, as it allows them to see whether aides or caregivers have arrived. Some systems provide audio so you can speak to the person without opening the door, which can be especially helpful for people with mobility issues, who may take longer answering the door.Some companies offering Smart Doorbells are Ring, SkyBell, Vivint, August, Zmodo Greet, Vtech IS741, and Chui, with prices ranging from $99-$250.
- Outdoor and Indoor Security Cameras: Outdoor security cameras can allow you to see anyone coming in and going out of your home, and they can record the activity. Indoor security cameras can be placed in various locations inside your home with live-stream video capabilities. This lets you see the inside of your home when you are traveling, and it allows family to view the live-stream video to check on you or observe interactions with caregivers. There are various features available, including motion detection, night vision, audio and Wi-Fi capability.
Some companies offering security cameras are Vimtag, Nest, Arlo Wire-Free, Amcrest and D-Link, with prices ranging $59-$150 for each unit.
Protecting your health and safety
Medical alert and safety monitoring systems can give both you and your family peace of mind. Consider a device that works with your lifestyle—many options are small, discreet, lightweight and waterproof, and come in easy-to-wear forms like pendants and watches. Look for a contract with an easy opt-out, and consider an option with fall-detection technology and connectivity options to call family or 911. Here are some options:
- Life Alert and Panic Buttons: A single-press button for medical assistance is critical, especially if you are at higher risk for falling. Ensure that you pick the right type for either a landline or cellular phone and have enough coverage. Note that most systems cover 400-1,000 square feet. Determine what the process will be if an emergency occurs and find out about the installation process. Some systems require special equipment, or you may need a representative to install it. When choosing one, consider the monthly fees, quality of technology and contract details, including length of contract.Some companies offering Life Alert systems are Bay Alarm Medical, MobileHelp, Medical Guardian, ResponseNow, QMedic, RescueTouch, LifeStation, Alert1, and LifeFone, with costs ranging from $20-$50 per month for monitoring.
- Active Safety Monitoring: A security company can also monitor your home with a security system. Some systems allow for control of lights, temperature settings, locks, and motion, window and smoke detectors. If you have mild dementia, you might forget to close a door or window and be vulnerable to an intruder. You can create a system alert to notify you and call your loved one or a neighbor to check on the problem.Some companies offering active safety monitoring are ADT, Vivint, Frontpoint, GetSafe, SimpliSafe, Link Interactive, Protect America, and LiveWatch. The average cost for installation and set-up ranges from $600-$1,200. Monthly monitoring plans average around $30, but can range from $15-$100 a month.
There are many options to help make your home a safer environment. Consider these high-tech options to help improve your home and personal safety, and bring you peace of mind.