Whether living alone, or with a spouse or roommate, the vast majority of healthy older Americans want to be in their own homes and enjoy an independent life. There is no reason they shouldn’t be able to, provided they acknowledge vulnerability and take precautions to counteract it. The first step to enhancing your security, your home security, or the security of a loved one is assessing the current situation.
Have you done all you can to secure your home from intruders?
In previous years, there may have been more people residing in and/or using your home — spouse, children, friends and pets — activity and hubbub that made your house a poor target for burglars. While your home may be quieter today, you can make it noisy — when needed — by installing an alarm system. There are wireless security systems on the market that require no professional installation. They include motion, door and window sensors that, when activated, sound an ear-piercing siren should an intruder attempt to open a window, door or gate — sending the would-be burglar into retreat and alerting your neighbors to the situation.
Adding a security camera(s) to your property allows you to investigate any noise or disturbance without putting yourself in danger. Online features give your children or concerned relatives access to monitor the cameras remotely, too, and help keep tabs to make sure all is well. If you’re working with a smaller budget, you can install fake security cameras to give trespassers the illusion that they’re being watched – at a fraction of the cost.
Solar lighting and motion-activated lights are a great way to light your property without incurring high utility bills. Solar lights supply sufficient lighting to illuminate paths and walks so you can see what’s happening. Should the motion sensors detect someone in the area, the bright lights they activate can surprise a potential intruder, rob them of the cover of darkness and send them fleeing.
You’re fine today, but what if you fall ill tomorrow?
Medical Alert Systems
It’s hard to remember there was a time when we existed without a phone in hand. While keeping that smartphone handy can let you summon help should you fall ill and need help, it’s wise to back it up with a medical alert system. Current models are push-button activated and allow two-way communication, but many are also motion-sensitive and will automatically place a call for help should the owner fall.
Are you compromising your security on the Internet?
The Department of Homeland Security highlights two connected facts on its website in a Cyber Tips for Older Americans post:
(1) Baby boomers embrace new technologies 20 times faster than members of Gen Y, and (2) seniors are defrauded at twice the rate of the rest of the population.
While the Internet may make it easy to shop, plan travel, make restaurant reservations and stay connected to social media from the comfort of home, it can also open the door to scams, fraud, theft and abuse. Remember how we were taught, as kids, to never talk to strangers? Then why is it so many of us don’t think twice about doing so online?
Here are ways to reduce your online safety risk.
- Never open email attachments from unknown persons. Never reply to requests for personal information — such as your name, address, social security number, bank account or credit card information — on unknown websites. While the sender may masquerade as your bank, favorite charity or IRS, these entities never ask for such information online.
- Be very wary of online contests, gifts and offers — just as you would if you met that proverbial stranger with candy from your childhood. One scam that recently made the rounds used free theater tickets to lure victims out of their homes so burglars would know when to gain access.
- Just as you avoid unsafe neighborhoods, stay away from iffy websites. Always look for https vs. http when conducting business or purchasing online. The “s” stands for secure, and signifies that all communications between your computer and the website are encrypted.
Peace of mind is often key to living a comfortable life, perhaps even more so for seniors. Though more vulnerable at times, there’s no reason older Americans can’t have peace of mind — and these security tips can go a long way toward helping.
Author bio: Claire Schrantz is Marketing Manager for SABRE, a company that specializes in wireless home security alarms and self-defense products. She is also a certified SABRE Personal Safety Academy instructor.