Senior Security and Safety Tips

As a home security expert with over 20 years of experience, and a devoted son of an elderly parent, I am sensitive to the home security and safety issues that are unique to senior citizens. In addition to the increased risk of age-related injuries and illnesses, seniors are increasingly susceptible to burglary and other coldhearted crimes.

In a news report, an elderly couple in Wichita awoke to find that an intruder had broken into their home during the night and stolen their wallet and purse. The intruder entered their home by prying open a locked screen door, which was the couple’s only means of security that evening. The couple had been leaving their main entry door open during the night to allow the cool air to flow through the home.

In a more horrific crime report by KCTV5 News, in Kansas City, Missouri, a 93-year-old man and his 84-year-old wife were bound and brutally beaten by a 19-year-old home invader after he broke into their home and demanded money. This sick, violent intruder also raped the elderly woman.

While crimes such as this are difficult to comprehend, they are an unfortunate reality for many elderly citizens across the nation. But that doesn’t mean they have to happen to you or one of your elderly loved ones.

Tips to Improve Home Security for Seniors

Throughout my 20+ years of experience performing home security inspections, I’ve witnessed the common mistakes seniors and other homeowners make over and over again. Such mistakes include relying on inferior deadbolts, flimsy windows, and second-rate alarm systems as the only means of home security; improper or no exterior lighting; and extreme means of exterior lighting that allow criminals to easily view of every point of entry of the residence.

As a home security expert, I make it my duty to help homeowners of all ages identify their home’s vulnerabilities and advise on how to properly secure their residences and their families against would-be intruders. Whether you reside in a single family home, a condo, or an apartment, you can minimize the threat to an elderly parent or loved one of becoming a criminal’s target by following these simple home security tips:

  • Doors and Windows: The two most common entry points for home intruders is a locked door or window. Reinforcing your front door with a security door brace is an effective and inexpensive way to protect your home against a forced entry. Installing glass protection film on your most vulnerable windows and sliding glass doors will also help keep the bad guys out by making the glass extremely difficult to break. The extra time, effort, and noise it takes to break a window reinforced with glass security film significantly increases a would-be intruder’s risk of being detected and caught—something all criminals want to avoid.
  • Lighting: The purpose of your home’s exterior lighting should be to detract criminals, not attract them. While too little light allows intruders to hide in the cover of the darkness of night, too much light gives would-be intruders easy viewing of the various entry points into your home. To avoid both mistakes, equip your home with outdoor motion detection lights that shine nice and bright only when the sensors detect movement around the perimeter of your home. Such lights can serve as an early warning as well as startle and give a would-be intruder a reason to flee the scene.
  • Home Surveillance Devices: Home surveillance devices such as a home security alarm and wireless video camera system with portable LCD monitor make excellent crime deterrents and early warning systems. In addition to making criminals think twice about targeting your home, security alarms and home video surveillance systems can alert you of a potential intruder and provide you with the critical seconds you need to call for help and seek safety while you wait for the police to arrive.

Personal Safety and Security Tips for Seniors

While installing the necessary home security devices in and around your residence is important, being vigilant when it comes to your personal safety and security is just as critical.

The following are a few additional precautions seniors should take to protect themselves:

  • Keep all vulnerable doors and windows locked at all times—even when you’re at home.
  • Never open your door to a stranger, including a police officer, delivery person, or other service person you did not request to visit your home. Ask for the person’s name and company phone number, then call and verify their credentials. Keep the door closed and locked at all times. Call 911 if someone at your door refuses to leave or becomes insistent or otherwise aggressive.
  • Do not rely on a chain lock to speak to someone outside your door. Instead, equip your door with a wide-angle peephole, or look into having a surveillance system installed, which will allow you to see who is at the door from a location far away from the door itself.
  • If you have a garage, keep the main door closed at all times and ensure all side doors are locked.
  • Ensure your home alarm system is turned on both when at home and away from home.
  • Don’t give in-home caregivers, maids, or other non-family members access to the keys to your home or alarm codes. You should also periodically change your alarm code.
  • If you use a community facility to do laundry, have a friend or family member accompany you at all times. This is especially important for women.
  • Avoid parking and walking around in secluded areas.
  • Report any suspicious people or vehicles outside your home to the police.
  • If you live alone, have a family member or close friend check in on you each day with a phone call or in-person visit.

As part of my home security inspections, I also stress the importance of creating a safe home environment for seniors. Every year millions of elderly residents sustain serious and sometimes fatal injuries from falls. To help decrease this risk, carefully walk through your home and look for potential safety hazards, such as loose carpets, area rugs, electrical cords, broken tiles, and slippery floors throughout each room. After identifying the hazards, take the necessary measures to remove or repair the potential risk. Ensuring your home is equipped with adequate lighting, handrails, and grab bars throughout the bathroom can also help prevent accidental falls and injuries.

While the home security and safety mistakes senior homeowners make are unintentional, the intentions of criminals who target innocent seniors are not. To help prevent being targeted, take the advice of an experienced home security expert, and take responsibility for your safety and security today.

Jordan Frankel, commonly known as The Security Sensei develops revolutionary security products and solutions that protect both lives & property. Countless agencies and corporations such as NASDAQ, the US Military, and law enforcement entrust Mr. Frankel with their security and safety. Jordan Frankel is also frequent media guest addressing the personal and financial consequences associated with home invasions, burglaries and other serious threats. In addition, Mr. Frankel's security products & inventions have been featured on Oprah, FOX news and in countless publications. Jordan's ability to outsmart the proverbial bad guys - coupled with his commitment to making security an affordable reality for everyone is the key to Global Security Experts Inc success. Mr. Frankel (The Security Sensei) is available for media interviews by appointment only.

Mr. Frankel is a proud member of:

The American Society for Industrial Security.

The International Association for Counter Terrorism & Security.

The Society of Professional Locksmiths.