If you yourself are over the age of 70, or if you are caring for someone you know that is, then you
should understand how much more important security becomes in not only it’s ability to keep people out, but also in its ease of use and practicality. Those who aren’t as mobile as they once were are both more vulnerable to malicious attacks and less capable of walking around and operating locks.
So how do you go about selecting a locking system and other security for an elderly person’s home?
One option for those that can afford it is a digital lock. The great thing about a digital lock is that it doesn’t require a key but instead uses either magnetism or a powered mechanism to open and close the lock. Instead of using a key then, a simple form of identification is required either a card with a magnetic strip that requires swiping, or a PIN code that requires entering, or biometric data (biometric data means something like a retinal scan or a finger print and is particularly â€˜high tech’ but also fairly expensive).
For the elderly this has many advantages. For one you won’t be required to insert and turn a key, which can be fairly difficult, especially when carrying shopping or suffering from arthritis. Additionally it means that the PIN code or swipe card can be removed from the system if it gets lost meaning that the locks won’t need to be changed. Better yet with the PIN code or biometric data there is nothing to lose (and if most elderly individuals are honest, losing a key does become slightly more likely past a certain age). Finally, a digital lock will normally lock automatically, meaning that it’s unlikely that the lock will be accidentally left open which is a serious security hazard.
The other great thing about a digital lock, particularly when combined with other security measures, is that it can be operated remotely. This means that the resident can open the doors from wherever they want to have controls installed. For an elderly resident who won’t appreciate having to rush down flights of stairs to open a door this can be very useful and prevent an accident. At the same time though when combined with other security measures it can improve their safety in other ways.
For example if you include a telecom system, the owner of the digital lock can then talk to the person outside first before deciding to remotely unlock the door. This way, should someone unsavoury come to the door, the elderly resident won’t have to open the door to them at all and can simply ask them to leave from the safety of their home. This system will work even better with a video intercom where it’s possible to look through the camera to see that the visitor is in fact who they say they are. From here it’s then possible to simply not answer and pretend to be out should the person outside not be someone recognised. And thanks to the remote operation it’s possible to do this without even getting up.
As such many blocks of flats use such systems, and if you’re looking for a block of flats for an older relative then you should look for one with just such a locking system. The same goes for homes in retirement villages etc, all of which will benefit from a digital lock with an intercom system.
Likewise if you can afford it you should look into installing them in their home if they haven’t moved out yet. If you yourself are that elderly resident you should contact your local locksmith and get a quote.
Unfortunately digital locks are more expensive to install and to maintain so they’re not something that everyone will be able to make the most of. So if you’re less mobile and more vulnerable than you were but unable to afford a digital lock you might have to look into other ways too improve security and functionality in your home.
Again there are several ways you can do this. One is to include a gate outside your door with a padlock or other form of lock. This way no one can come up your drive until you’ve let them in. This again can be combined with a camera or an intercom system, so that at least you know who’s at the gate before you get up. If you don’t have the facilities for a gate then at least a spy hole to allow you to look through the front door before opting to let visitors in will help you to suss out visitor before deciding.
Another good security measure that’s simple to install is a chain on the door. This way even if the lock is picked someone outside won’t be able to get in adding more security, but it also has other functions, for example allowing the door to be partially opened to allow the resident to speak to and identify the visitor, without necessarily having to give them access or go outside themselves.
Another option that doesn’t involve the lock itself is a security light. These lights will detect movement and turn on appropriately which gives them two very useful functions. The first is that it will alert the resident to anyone in their front drive (and also light them up to allow the resident to see them through their spy hole) and the second is that it will light up the drive when the resident themselves are coming home late preventing accidents and allowing them to find and use their keys more easily.
All this will mean that an elderly resident has much more control over who they allow into their house and much better security, meaning that both they and their loved ones can rest easily knowing that they are safe and secure.