Aging adults are the perfect victims for burglaries, because they are frail and often gullible; a sentiment that most people would be all too ready to believe, but actually it’s a misconception. A survey titled Crimes Against Elderly highlights numbers on household burglaries, and the 65+ age group is at the bottom of the list. However, the report also shows that the rate of property victimization sharply declined for the younger demographic in the past decade, while this rate had stagnated for seniors.
You see, this all ties together. The number of elderly victims hasn’t changed much in recent years, however the latest advancements in home security technology has drastically reduced the number of break-ins as a whole, which is why the younger demographic are experiencing less property crime. Seniors tend to avoid investing in state-of-the-art technology, including modern alarms, hence the unchanging victimization rate for the elderly. Their stubbornness is the reason why aging adults seemingly have a larger percentage of incidents in the burglary reports. It goes without saying, then, that seniors should consider everything they can to protect themselves and their house.
Home Security Solutions for Seniors
While browsing through the huge catalog of home security systems, seniors (or their relatives researching for them) should be on the lookout for certain keywords and products. The elderly should focus on different aspects than most homeowners, and favor user-friendliness instead of complicated smart features they would never use.
First and foremost, a home security system should require as little input from the elderly user as possible. Alarms should have a long battery life to eliminate the constant need to mess around with the hardware, while the base hub should perform scheduled self-diagnostics to see whether the system runs at an optimal level. It’s also recommended to ask the home security provider if professional installation is available.
Another important aspect is the level of monitoring that is available. The trained operators of home security companies offer reliable supervision, but in most cases they only respond to security issues. Be sure to inquire whether they also offer help in medical emergencies. Additionally, caregivers and family members should also take part in the monitoring by accessing camera feeds and reading alarm notifications through a smartphone app, a feature that is becoming very popular for smart homes.
But also keep in mind that home intrusion isn’t the only danger threatening a senior’s life. The elderly who are forgetful might leave the stove on or cause a fire while cooking. Environmental detectors are becoming a scarcity among home security companies, which is why you should take a deep look at their selection of accessories. When it comes to purchasing cameras, make sure to set up a few of them both inside and outside the home to check up on the senior while doing household chores or gardening.
On a final note: aging adults will most likely oppose the idea of home automation, especially if they need to fiddle with apps just to make them work. However, there could well be a few exceptions that they might like. Smart thermostats that can easily control their favorite room temperature, lighting that can be toggled by clapping, and even a security system compatible with Alexa or Siri, because this is more intuitive and can overcome the need to learn new technology.
Door and Window Sensors
These two are the frontline fighters of any home security system. Door sensors should be attached to any entrance, and not just the front one. After arming the system, they’ll ring a siren if someone moves the door even an inch. Window sensors also detect both movement (similar to the door sensor) and shockwaves, which might indicate that someone is attempting to break the glass.
Smart locks fitted with tiny cameras are great tools for family members who wish to monitor visitors that enter the elderly resident’s home. As an added benefit, smart locks can be opened with a simple code or a fingerprint scan, sparing the senior from struggling with keys and their keyholes. Smart locks are also useful to protect aging adults with Alzheimer’s, because the lock can be closed remotely therefore ensuring there’s no risk of the person straying away at night.
The Best Home Security Systems of 2020
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Environmental Safety Sensors
There are numerous environmental sensors to choose from. Carbon monoxide and smoke detectors are the most popular ones, but if the senior lives in an area where extreme weather conditions can occur then a flood or temperature sensor could save their life as well.
Sticking decals and putting up signs that warn potential burglars about your home security measures may seem like a useless strategy, but they are proven criminal deterrents – not to mention they can also boost the senior’s feeling of security. It’s also important to inform others that you are using video and audio surveillance in your home; otherwise you might find yourself in legal trouble.
Installing proper lighting for the backyard and main entrance is crucial. Not only do they highlight (literally) an unexpected visitor standing at the front door, but also brighten the path for the senior who could otherwise easily misstep in the darkness and fall. To make things even more convenient, opt for lighting that is motion-activated.
Monitoring Seniors at Home
The idea of a frail senior living on their own often terrifies their friends and family members who wish to ensure nothing bad happens to their loved one. However, keeping a close eye on them is quite tricky, especially if the relative lives in another town. So what can be done? Home security experts often recommend setting up indoor cameras in rooms that the senior visits on a daily basis, typically the bedroom, kitchen or living room.
By pointing the recorders on the resident instead of potential burglar entry points, family members can access the live footage to see whether the elderly person is doing OK. If they subscribe to a monitoring service, the operators can be asked to perform regular check-ups as well. The only problem with this solution is that it heavily invades on the senior’s privacy.
A better alternative would be to install activity sensors in the relative’s house. By placing such devices on doors in the kitchen and medicine drawers, family members can receive regular summaries on how often certain items were used. For instance, if the fridge door is opened with less frequency, then it could indicate that the senior is having issues eating. This is a far less intrusive way of keeping tabs on an elderly loved one’s daily routine.
Medical Alert System
Medical alert systems share the same kind of monitoring services as home security systems, but the equipment is specifically built to sound the alarm in case of life threatening emergencies. Seniors can equip a wearable help button that looks like a wristband or pendant, and when the button is pressed it activates the base hub which then dials the medical alert care agents. In short, the system saves a lot of time and effort for the elderly person, since the operators summon the emergency services for them.
There are home security companies who also boast such a help button on their device list, claiming that they offer personal emergency services as well. But don’t fall for this so easily: these accessories are typically inferior in every aspect. Real medical alert help buttons often feature fall detection and are designed to work long distances from the main hub.
Also, medical alert operators are trained to identify symptoms of numerous illnesses and health issues, including a stroke or a heart attack. On top of all that, home security operators don’t have the senior’s medical history on file, meaning they can’t give detailed information to the dispatched respond teams. In brief, home security and medical monitoring isn’t interchangeable, and the latter is essential for an aging adult who wishes to age in place independently.