Every home, regardless of its location, is at risk for vandalism and burglary. The only person who can combat that risk is the homeowner. It is the homeowner’s responsibility, if they feel unsafe, to choose a suitable security system to keep his or her home protected. When the resident of the home in question is someone as vulnerable as a senior citizen, the need for a reliable system is only that much greater.
Sounding the Alarm
One of the most basic but important features any senior home security system should have is an alarm. Alarms, when functioning, will go off when a door, window, or even a gate is opened or disturbed. Alarms both alert the homeowner to a security breach and can also scare off the potential intruder. Some alarms will even automatically alert local law enforcement when the alarm has been activated, allowing homeowners to get help if needed and increasing the chances of catching a fleeing intruder.
The Right Timing
Many modern security systems also allow the homeowner to set up lights and appliances, like the television, to go off and on according to a timer. While it might not seem like lights that flicker on at a certain time or a television that suddenly starts blaring wouldn’t be very effective at keeping intruders at bay, this can actually be a huge help. When homeowners are going to be away for an extended period of time, timer-operated devices give the appearance that someone is at home and alert, thereby reducing the chance of vandalism or burglary.
A Constant Connection
Even older security systems are usually able to contact the local authorities in the event of a security breach. Unfortunately, older systems tend to do so through landline telephone connections, and many homeowners no longer have landline telephones. Furthermore, intruders can easily cut a landline if they have even basic knowledge of phone lines. For this reason, the best and most modern security systems utilize cellular connections, accessible through simple phone apps, to ensure that help can always be sought when needed. Wearable devices, like those sold by ADT, are also able to contact an operator in the event of an emergency. The device is worn as a pendant or on the wrist, and can also detect if the wearer has fallen. The Philips Lifeline offers a similar service, in the form of a pendant as well. These systems give the senior at home the option of being in constant contact with a helpline, and give worried family members peace of mind knowing their loved one’s home security needs are taken care of.
Safety All Around
Many modern security systems can do double (or even triple!) duty by acting as security systems, smoke detectors and/or carbon monoxide detectors- one example is Google’s famous Nest. While homeowners can buy each of these items separately, it’s generally much more convenient to have all security features operated and maintained from the same device. Seniors with certain conditions also face additional risks when choosing to live at home alone. Alzheimer’s patients may get lost and confused when returning home. To prevent this from happening, GPS systems in smartphones are now being used to locate lost family members. Medication-dispensing devices are convenient for elderly folks who have trouble remembering their proper dosages or when to take certain pills. A machine contains the medication, sorted into cups, that should be taken each day. An alarm sounds when the medicine should be administered by the patient or their caregiver. If the button on the machine is not pushed after ninety minutes of reminder alarms, then a message text is sent to a designated recipient.
Going Green and Staying Safe
Automated home systems make it possible to control the lights, temperature, and security of an entire home all from one panel. They reduce the need to walk around turning lights on and off, checking locks, and adjusting the thermostat, by consolidating and automating much of the home care process. With many of these systems, users can set timers to ensure that all the doors lock at bedtime, the temperature is adjusted to a preferred sleeping temperature, the lights are off and everything is secure. For senior citizens, and their caretakers, these services can be a blessing.
New home automation technologies, some of them new and some still ahead on the horizon, strive to provide elderly users with the dignity and independence they deserve. Advances in automated technology are occurring rapidly- relieving many of the burdens associated with homeownership for a new generation.
Beth Kelly is a freelance writer and blogger. She covers every topic under the sun, from DIY home repairs to the latest monster movies. Originally from Michigan, Beth now lives and works in Chicago, IL. Follow her on Twitter at @bkelly_88