As we get older, our home security concerns change. What works for families or young single people may not meet the unique needs of seniors who are flying solo. And, just over one in four adults over the age of 65 lives alone.

Concerns about seniors’ health, memory, and physical safety can create anxiety for loved ones and caregivers. But there are a number of strategies that can help seniors maintain both their safety and their independence. Read on for some of the best home security tools for seniors.

Personal emergency response system (PERS)

Every 11 seconds, an older adult suffers a fall serious enough to send them to the emergency room. And, one in four people over age 65 suffer a fall each year. If a senior is injured in a fall in their home, they may not have the ability to get up and call for help. A personal emergency response system (PERS) can help. A PERS service is a safety and medical alert system that allows an individual to signal for help from a wireless alarm pendant.

These systems immediately alert a care center operator who will dispatch the appropriate help. In the event of an injury or emergency, the local 911 Emergency Response Team will be dispatched. Otherwise a family member, neighbor, friend, or caregiver can be notified for assistance.

Carbon monoxide detectors

Carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning is the most common kind of poisoning worldwide. Carbon monoxide is an odorless, colorless gas found in the exhaust of generators, stoves, furnaces, cars, or anything that burns fuel. And most victims have no idea they’re being poisoned.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates about 500 people die from unintentional exposure in the U.S. every year. Another 8,000-15,000 people are examined or treated in hospitals. But most of carbon monoxide injuries and deaths are entirely preventable.

Mishaps anywhere — from forgetting a running car in the garage to a malfunctioning water heater — can cause poisonous carbon monoxide to gather in the home. That’s why carbon monoxide detectors are crucial to the protection of seniors living on their own. They can cost as little as $20 each and can be easily installed in minutes.

Monitored fire and burglar alarms

According to the Bureau of Justice, 59 percent of violent crimes against seniors happen at or near their homes. And they’re more likely (than younger people) to be victims of property crimes. Fires are a major concern, too.

A home security system can offer seniors living alone an added layer of protection in the event of a burglary or fire, when there may not be enough time to call 911. A monitored alarm can allow a call to authorities to be made more quickly, saving precious minutes.

Some home security systems can also provide important information about visitors and daily activities through integration with a smartphone or tablet.

Other system features can assist independent seniors who endure mild memory or mobility challenges. For instance, you can create an alert to notify you if a door or window in their home has been left open. You can check the status of your senior family member’s system and receive alerts when an alarm or event triggers. And real-time status reports let you quickly respond to problems.

Remote video surveillance

With remote video surveillance, seniors can know what’s going on in any room of their home without having to walk across the house to look. And they can login to ensure everything is as it should be when they go out for the day or away to see family.

This knowledge offers peace of mind. Plus, video surveillance can deter burglars from choosing a home for a break-in. A recent survey of convicted burglars showed that visible video cameras were one of the signs that told them to stay away.

Home automation tools

Don’t underestimate the technical savvy of the older generation. Around 41 percent of people who are between 65 and 69 own smart phones. With a smartphone and an equipped home security system, seniors can check on the security of their home from anywhere in the house or when they are away.

Mobile interfaces can also be used to activate home automation tools from anywhere. The ability to control things like home electricity and temperature from a smartphone means they can turn up the heat for comfort, or turn on a light for safety before arriving home.

Environmental safety monitors

It’s a scenario that can be more frightening and dismaying for an elderly individual than anyone else: a pipe burst or a water heater leaks, causing damaging flooding that can go on for hours while they are away or asleep.

Environmental safety monitors can alert seniors of the problem right away no matter where they are. The longer a leak goes unfixed, the more likely structural damage will occur. By getting the news right away, seniors and their families can avoid expensive and inconvenient repairs.

Energy management tools

A senior’s financial security is as important as their physical safety. With energy management tools, it is easy to significantly cut the cost of utilities. Rooms can be heated one at a time. Heating and cooling can be turned on remotely so that it is comfortable when you arrive without the expense of running systems all day. And, timers can assure that the heat or air conditioning is not forgotten and left on for hours in an empty home.

Ask an expert

Modern security technology means that it’s easier than ever for seniors to enjoy security and independence in their homes. If you’d like to learn more about the kinds of security planning, processes, and technology available for every budget, visit our website or give us a call at (417) 831-2866.

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