Home security is a concern for individuals of all ages, but it becomes particularly crucial when it comes to home security for the elderly.
As we all age (like it or not), our physical and cognitive abilities may decline, making us all more vulnerable to various risks, including burglaries, scams, and accidents.
This article aims to provide valuable insights and practical tips on how to improve home security for the elderly, as well as guidance for family members seeking to protect their elderly relatives.
After all, these are our parents we are talking about. Our mother. Our father. Our grandfathers, our grandmothers, uncles, aunts, brothers and sisters.
Who wouldn’t want our own family living in a more secure environment?
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Table of Contents
Understanding The Vulnerabilities Of The Elderly
Before looking into specific security measures, it is important to acknowledge why the elderly are more susceptible to home security risks.
Several factors contribute to their vulnerabilities:
- Physical Limitations: Age-related physical changes, such as reduced strength, mobility issues, and impaired vision or hearing, can hinder the elderly’s ability to respond effectively to emergencies, recognise scams or defend themselves against intruders.
- Cognitive Decline: Some older people may experience cognitive decline, which can impact their decision-making abilities and make them more susceptible to scams, fraud, and manipulation by strangers.
- Social Isolation: Loneliness and social isolation are prevalent among the elderly, making them easy targets for criminals who exploit their vulnerability and trust.
I’m sure you will agree, the above three points don’t make particularly nice reading.
But it’s a fact of life that when we get older, we lose some of our abilities.
And that’s why friends and family support of elderly people is so important, given that they probably don’t have security of their homes in a high enough priority than they probably should.
Talking Is Good
Before going through some tips for enhancing home security for the elderly, I would like to point out that the first thing you should do with your elderly relative or friend is to sit down and talk.
Go round, have a nice cup of tea and some biscuits, and casually drop in home security topics into the conversation.
From here, you should be able to grasp the level they are at with their own home security, because some elderly people are still very able and still very responsible – that, we shouldn’t forget.
And when they are able and responsible, it’s really important not to ‘preach’ to them, because depending on personality, it could go down like a lead balloon.
If their understanding of security is not quite as good as it should be, you should consider bringing up some basic topics to raise their awareness of things we all hear about in the news and media from time to time, like:
- Fake gas meter reader enter elderly persons home and steals £1000.
- Cowboy builder charges 80 year old £16,000 for £400 worth of work.
- Text scam sees grandmother lose lifesavings.
- Granfather home ransacked after opening door to what he thought was a postman.
With the examples above, it’s not so much about physical security, but awareness and education.
It’s about how to spot when something is not quite right, which can be hard for older people sometimes.
But it’s important to drop these things into conversation, allowing you to raise awareness and educate them of the possibilities and outcomes.
As an old advert once said: It’s good to talk.
Tips for Enhancing Home Security for the Elderly
Below are some general tips on how to improve home security for the elderly.
Not every single tip is appropriate for some circumstances, but the idea here is to give you a general outline of what you could potentially do to improve the security around their home.
- Install Reliable Security Systems: Invest in a comprehensive security system that includes features such as burglar alarms, motion sensor lights, and security cameras. These systems can act as deterrents and provide peace of mind for both the elderly and their families. Some of these security systems can be bought cheaply, and installed on a DIY basis.
- Reinforce Entry Points: Ensure that all doors and windows are sturdy and have secure locks. Go back to basics here: has the front door got a door restrictor chain installed? If not, install one. It’s cheap, quick and easy to do. Consider installing deadbolt locks and additional reinforcements, such as door jammers and window bars, to enhance resistance against break-ins.
- Outdoor Lighting: Adequate outdoor lighting is crucial to deter potential intruders. Install motion sensor lights around the perimeter of the house, entryways, and pathways. Well-lit areas also reduce the risk of accidental trips, slips and falls.
- Utilize Timers: Use light timers to create the illusion of an occupied home, especially when your relative or friend is away. Timers can automatically turn on lights, radios, or TVs at different times to give the impression that someone is present.
- Maintain Landscaping: Overgrown bushes and trees can provide cover for intruders. Regularly trim bushes and hedges and the like, near windows and entry points to eliminate potential hiding spots.
- Secure Garage and Shed: Ensure that the garage and shed are properly secured. Keep valuables locked away, and consider installing a security camera (or even a dummy camera) in these areas to monitor any suspicious activity.
- Access Preparation: How is the back of the property accessed? I sthere a gate or fence, or can somebody simply walk in off the street, and walk around to the back of the property? This is a huge bug bear of mine, and a green light for criminals to access areas where a break in or theft is more likely to happen out of the way of the street. Consider improving the security of side gates and installing gates or fences, if applicable.
- Utilize Smart Home Technology: Smart devices, such as smart locks, video doorbells, and security systems, can provide added convenience and security. These devices allow the elderly and their family members to monitor and control their home remotely.
Again, this is a simplified list, designed really to get you thinking about what simple things you could do to help improve your loved ones security arrangements.
If you are interested, I wrote a huge article titled 75 Ways To Improve Home Security, and it goes through every part of the home, garden and outbuildings, with solutions for improving each area.
It’s one of the most visited pages on this website. Do have a glance at it if you can, because it will give you some really effective ideas on how to target harden a home, whether it be a house, bungalow or flat.
Supporting The Elderly: Other Ways To Help
Of course, there’s lot’s of other ways to help your elderly friend or relative to help keep safe and secure.
Here’s another list of ideas to not only improve the safety and security of their home, but to help them feel safe, loved and reassured.
- Regular Communication: Maintain open lines of communication with elderly relatives to stay updated on their safety and security concerns. Regular check-ins or phone calls can not only help identify potential issues and provide an opportunity to offer guidance and support, but it will also make their day.
- Building a Support Network: Encourage the elderly to develop relationships with trustworthy neighbors who can keep an eye on their home and report any suspicious activities. Getting to know our neighbours is sadly becoming a rarity these days, but making an effort is a good thing.
- Assist with Technological Solutions: Many elderly individuals may be unfamiliar with or hesitant to adopt new technologies. Offer assistance in setting up and understanding security systems, like video doorbells and smart devices, and any other technology that can enhance their safety.
- Engage Community Resources: Research local resources that provide assistance to the elderly in terms of home security. There may be programs or organisations that offer home safety assessments, installation of security equipment, or educational workshops on home security tailored specifically for seniors. Encourage your elderly relatives to take advantage of such resources, and where needed, act upon their behalf.
- Implement Emergency Response Systems: Consider equipping your elderly relatives with personal emergency response systems (PERS) or medical alert devices, like the one Age Uk offer.
- Regular Home Inspections: Conduct regular inspections of their homes to identify any potential safety hazards. Use outside help if needed, like a fire service home visit. Check for loose handrails, tripping hazards, or faulty electrical wiring. Addressing these issues promptly can help prevent accidents and injuries.
- Educate on Scams and Fraud: Elderly individuals are often targeted by scammers and fraudsters. Educate your elderly relatives about common scams and fraudulent schemes, such as phishing emails, phone scams, text scams, and door-to-door scams. Advise them to be cautious and never share personal or financial information with unknown individuals.
- Financial Protection: Work with your elderly relatives to establish safeguards for their finances. Set up automatic bill payments, monitor bank statements for suspicious activity, and encourage them to consult with trusted family members or financial advisors before making any significant financial decisions.
- Medication Management: Help your elderly relatives organize and manage their medications to reduce the risk of accidental overdose or misuse. Use pill organizers or medication management apps to ensure they take their medications correctly and on time.
- Fire Safety Measures: Install smoke detectors in key areas of the house and regularly test them to ensure they are functioning correctly. Educate your elderly relatives on fire safety protocols, such as creating an escape plan, practicing drills, and keeping a fire extinguisher readily accessible.
Again, a lot of the above revolves around communication. Talk to them, ask them what’s going on, ask them if they have had any phone calls or visitors to their home.
Talking and maintaining that clear line of communication can really help in detecting anything unusual, putting you in a much better position in dealing with it and stopping it if warranted.
Additional Help For The Elderly
There are lots of charities, agencies and organisations that are out there specifically to offer support, guidance and advice for elderly people.
It’s important for your own wellbeing and mental helath that you don’t over burden yourself with worry about your elderly relative or friend, and to know that there is external help out there – and they are only too happy to help.
I’ve wrote about one such charity here: Age UK Charity.
There are lots of such charities and schemes around the UK that will not only offer advice, but come out and do free work to improve the safety and security of vulnerable homeowners who need that additional helping hand.
One such scheme is the fire service home visit scheme, where some people in certain circumstances are not only given free fire advice and a home audit, but the fire service will actually install fire and smoke alarms for them, totally free of charge.
That article is here: Can I Get A Free Smoke Alarm From The Fire Service, and is one of the most popular pages on this website.
There’s a lot here, a lot to get your head around, and I get it. It’s hard, and you probably don’t know where to start.
But I can assure you, that it is worth getting your head around and taking some action, simply for the peace of mind it will bring you and your family, with the added bonus that your relative is safe and secure in their own homes, living out their retirement peacefully and happily.
Start small and simple. Three of the easiest things to start with are bushes, shrubs and foliage that can cause too much obstruction from street level. Cut them back, so access points like doors and windows are easily seen from the street and from neighbouring properties.
Next, lighting. Motion sensor, solar powered lights are cheap, easy and are now very reliable. Add them around footpaths, and above doors, so they illuminate whenever someone comes near or enters the property in hours of darkness.
And finally, some basic upgrades of doors and windows. A simple chain on a front door will enable your elederly relative to open the door slightly, without having to open it all the way, and stopping anyone who tries to get
Improving and upgrading the home security for the elderly requires a combination of practical measures and supportive efforts from family members, friends and agencies.
By implementing even a few of these tips, the elderly can enhance their home security and reduce their vulnerability to various risks.
Additionally, family members can play a crucial role in supporting their elderly relatives by providing guidance, assistance with technology, and engaging community resources.
I really hope that this article has been of some use, and at the very least, prompted you to think about things that you may never have previously given consideration to, and hopefully, with the help of this article, we can create safer and more secure environments that allow our loved ones to age gracefully and securely in their own homes.
Other Articles You May Like
Here’s a small selection of articles you may also like from this site:
- – 75 Ways To Improve Home Security
- – 25 Simple Ways To Improve Garage Security
- – Best Patio Door Locks (UK Top 3)
- – Best Outdoor Security Lighting
Here’s the complete list of products and links mentioned on this article on home security for the elderly:
- – There are no products mentioned in this article.
Here’s the sources used for this article o home security for the elderly:
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Stay Safe. Stay Secure.