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Top 10 home security tips for the elderly

We've compiled 10 practical tips to keep your home secure and safe.

September 29, 2021

Door being securely locked

While many of us will never have to deal with intrusion or theft from our homes, it’s still a worrying prospect. With these simple tips you can enjoy greater peace of mind without turning your house into a fortress.

 

1. The danger of strangers

It’s always wise to be a little suspicious of uninvited people on the doorstep. They could be entirely genuine, but they might not. It’s unlikely that anyone from the utility companies, for example, will just turn up and ask for entry, even if they are offering some sort of ID.

Erring on the side of caution is the best policy. You can use a simple chain on the door to allow conversation without allowing anyone to force their way in. And it’s a good idea to use a freely available sticker to point out that you do not buy or sell at the door.

Joining your local Neighbourhood Watch could be a good move too. 

Neighbourhood Watch

If your parent is concerned about an unwanted visitor, they could make overt use of their personal alarm to encourage the visitor to leave.  Many older people already have a personal alarm that they can use to get help in an emergency, such as a fall.

They can just as easily press the emergency button if they’re worried by strangers at the door or suspicious behaviour outside the property. Our award-winning 24/7 Emergency Resolution team will be at the end of the phone, making sure they’re safe and can get help as quickly as possible.

 

2. Burglar alarm

Burglar alarms have been around for a long time, and can be a valuable investment. However, they need to be installed and maintained effectively. Alarms are particularly useful for times when the home is left unattended.

 

3. Video your visitors

There are various cameras available that are fairly easy to install and can video any movement at your front door. The systems record every coming and going, so while you may find plenty of sightings of post and milk deliveries, you could also have evidence of any suspicious behaviour should you need it.

As with burglar alarms, an obvious camera could also act as a deterrent.

 

4. Window and door locks that get used

Most modern windows and doors come with locks and keys, though it’s easy to forget to use them. Making sure your home is properly locked up whenever you’re out or are in bed can be another line of defence.

It’s possible that your insurers will ask questions about this in the case of burglary, so another good reason to lock up and hide the keys.

 

5. Keep other keys out of sight

All keys are best kept out of sight. There’s a growing trend for burglars to break in just to find vehicle keys, and make off with the car on the drive rather than stay around to rifle through belongings. And in some cases felons have been known to fish through letterboxes to reach car keys kept nearby. So any keys to valuables should be kept in a less than obvious place.

Key safes

A key safe is a secure, weatherproof box that allows you to keep a set of keys outside your home. You can use one so the emergency services, friends, family or carers can gain access to your home quickly in an emergency.

Key safe

 

6. Motion detectors

Setting up motion-detecting cameras inside the house could help with deterring unwanted visitors from staying too long. The downside is that you may feel like you are constantly under surveillance – and if you have pets you could find yourself with hours of cuteness but no useful footage.

However, there are various motion detecting alarms out there that are not connected to cameras. Some can be set up to automatically call friends and family in the event of unexpected movement being detected.

 

7. Protect boundaries

Do any of your boundaries border paths, parks or other unsecured properties? A good but attractive deterrent is to plant a hedge that makes it difficult to get over the boundary.

If there is access to your property around the side of your home, then adding in a solid gate will help your security. Remember to keep it locked, especially when you are out.

There’s no point in planting hedges and building gates if you then give people an opportunity to climb over easily. So it’s best to keep ladders, bins and garden chairs well away from your boundaries.

You can make potential burglars think twice by laying gravel along paths and near the house. It’s hard to walk on gravel quietly, so unwanted visitors may think again about trying to get close to your property.

 

8. Look like you’re at home, even when you’re not

If you’re going to be away for a few days, you can put a few lights on timers inside and perhaps use motion detector lights outside.

Avoid having parcels left on the doorstep when you’re out, and don’t put the bins out if there’s no one to bring them in again the same day.

 

9. Use trusted tradespeople

Personal recommendation is by far the best way to find people you can trust to work in your home. Local charities can also often provide contracts. Strangers knocking on your door saying they’re working the area are best avoided.

 

10. Enlist the help of friends and family

If you have friendly neighbours, they can help to keep an eye on the property and protect it when you’re not at home. Someone with a key could open and close curtains, move the post, and organise rubbish collections.


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