Five Security Features Every Senior Should Have in Their Home

Put safety first for seniors living alone. 
Whether you live on your own and in your own home or have decided on community living in an assisted living center, security should be a factor. Every senior, single or married, needs to both feel safe and be safe. Safety is not just concern about outside intruders, but also your own health and well-being inside should an accident occur. Do you have a definite line to the outside world, the medical services, should you need it in the case of an emergency? If not, then your safety is compromised. Consider your living situation against these five important features to gauge your level of personal safety.

Fall Sensor/Call Button. Most consumers have seen the commercials for the Life Alert system that allows those who have fallen and injured themselves, preventing them from getting back up, to press a button and call for outside aid. Usually this button is in the form of a bracelet or necklace that is worn against the body so you don't have to crawl to a button on a speaker box. While this is a genuine security and is recommended, Fall Sensor goes a huge step forward where no one has to press anything for an alarm to be sounded should someone fall; sometimes falling can paralyze a body with pain and there's no way to press a button. Fall Sensor is a system installed in each room that actually reads and recognizes the body heat of humans. Its internal computer is programmed with a variety of ways humans move and is designed to detect the distress of a fall, a fall from a stroke or heart attack, or even a fall from bed. Once it picks up the distress fall, it summons your local paramedics to come to the rescue. Fall Sensor works on all human beings and is not meant only for seniors- children can be protected too. With simple installation (stick it to the wall), passive 24-hour monitoring and no buttons to press, it's the epitome of security against falls, slips and seizures. The installed unit also features a speakerphone so emergency dispatchers can contact the person inside the house even if the phone line is busy. The entire system is extremely useful for those who may suffer dementia or other cognitive limitations that might prevent using a call button. The Fall Sensor is designed to shut off should the person who fell manage to get to their feet.  Lifeline is also another great choice - the #1 fall detection system. 

Home Security System. Much is being made in the news lately of the general rise of home burglaries and break-ins. Violence can easily accompany such attacks. While most assisted living facilities have this one covered by their general set-up, seniors living outside a closed community will want to have at least a basic home security system that locks down the home or condo and alerts the local authorities should someone try to break in. There are many such private companies and systems available these days and they're a smart investment as seniors are often considered easy targets for thefts. A security system, or even a dummy system, are remarkable deterrents. If you can't afford the cost that comes with a home security system package, then at the very least install motion detector lighting outside at the corners of the house and at the porch. Make sure the lights are powerful flood lights that leave no shadow to hide in. Add dummy cameras that look like close circuits cameras, moving in a sweep as one would and blinking like a genuine camera, to frighten away possible thieves. Door and window alarms can be installed that work much like car alarms- once tripped, they let off some ungodly noise to chase off prowlers. They don't have to be connected to a monthly-fee dispatch system to work. Just having the "This house is protected by _____ Security Systems" signs in your yard and in your windows can be quite effective in turning bad guys away. 

Home Hazard Alarms. Most people have at least one home hazard alarm installed in the form of a fire alarm or smoke detector. If you've ever had one of these go off when the battery is low or when the bacon got just a little too burnt, you know how piercing and attention-grabbing these alarms can be. This is frustrating when there's no actual emergency but necessary to rouse the deepest sleepers. But what if the one the alarms are protecting happen to be hearing impaired? Even that keening siren may not be enough to alert some to the dangers in their house. There are ways to curtail some of the risk: install fire alarms on every level and directly outside bedroom doors. Most bedrooms will also have one. If you're worried about batteries dying or perhaps it's become difficult to change them, there are alarms that plug into a wall socket. Carbon Monoxide alarms also come this way and each home and level should have these, too. For the visually impaired, the US Fire Administration recommends installing strobe lights or otherwise flashing lights in rooms to indicate an active alarm. There are vibrating devices for pillows that will also set off to help wake the deep sleeper or impaired hearing person. Whenever possible, connect these additional devices to your central home security system so your security provider can dispatch aid. 

Remote Keyless Entry. The nice feature of the keyless entry is that you can open a door without having to physically touch it. What you really want attached to this is the camera that allows you to see exactly who is at the door without approaching it. There are many scam artists out there and people of questionable disposition and motive who prey on the elderly or anyone they can bully. Some will even dress in what appears to be legitimate company attire, such as the local cable company or electric company. Always check first before opening the door and do it away from the door. The keyless entry system will also give you peace of mind if you think you might have forgotten to lock the door. Announce you will call to confirm any appointment you don't remember making and keep the door shut and locked. If you see they're trying to open the door anyway, despite your request, then you know to call the police. 

Heavy Duty Locks. Society has moved beyond the security of a locked storm door and while it's a romantic piece of nostalgia, no one should go to bed without locking their doors even in rural areas. Locks on the front and back doors should be reinforced with at least a single deadbolt or a double safety door lock. If you decide to buy a retirement home or move into a previously owned condo, always change the locks of the domicile as you never know who out in the wide world has a key to your locks. Even the keyless entries should be fitted with good, solid locks that can't be easily broken into or down. It may even make sense to have an entire door replaced for better security.

Safety is always the most important factor when talking about keeping our families safe and sound while they’re at home. Specifically, seniors living alone can be at risk for many potential dangers which means putting safety first means being as proactive as possible.

Author Bio: Sarah-Elizabeth R comes from a long line of professional writers. Her extensive experience writing for various online and in print publications has given Sarah a distinct style which showcases her writing as unique, versatile, and personal. She is currently the head writer for the senior living directory, Sharp Seniors, where she writes on the important issues facing today's aging population.

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