Improving Home Security for Older Adults - Things to Do Now to Help Mom or Dad

The goal for most people is to age gracefully, ideally at home. That requires preparation. The earlier you start planning, the better off you and your loved ones will be in the years ahead. Start helping older family members now, then yourself.

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Improving Home Security for Older Adults - Things to Do Now to Help Mom or Dad
5 Min Read June 9th, 2022

Older people are often quite vulnerable, so personal safety becomes a primary concern. We all age differently. Some people remain strong and independent till much older ages than others. 

Most older people want to remain in their homes as they 'age in place'. Many home health agencies and providers can assist people with routine living activities or even supervision to due memory loss.

However, some people will move to senior living, either independent living or assisted living. A memory care facility or nursing home may be an option for those with needs beyond the care available through assisted living facilities. 

Personal safety is always a concern for older people. If a loved one is living at home, adjustments may need to be made for someone to feel safe, secure, and independent.

Home security is vital. Here are some ways to improve home security.

Remove Hazardous Objects from the Home

Safety is just as important as security. Before adding things that will help secure the home and you or your loved one from various threats, it is essential to make it safe first. 

The top priority in making a home safe is to remove hazardous objects. Those are unsecured throw rugs, furniture that has seen better days, scattered electrical cords, etc.

Moreover, besides the 'big' things around the house, you will have to move or get rid of 'small' things. Small things are household knick-knacks such as pet toys, your grandchild's toys, clothes, shoes, books, tools, and other items cluttering your walking area. 

Tripping and falling can be very dangerous for older people. Falls are one of the most common reasons seniors end up in the emergency room and often lead to long-term health care. Thus, to stay safe, deal with your cluttered home first.

A clean room.

To be safe, keep your home as free from clutter as possible.

Install Safety Equipment Throughout the Home

Now that your home is free from all the clutter installing some safety equipment throughout the home is essential. You may not need to use this equipment now, but you probably will in the years ahead. And, when you do, you will be glad you did this now.

Start with your bathroom. To maintain you or your loved one’s independence, you should design an accessible bathroom for older adults. That is a bathroom with non-slip strips, grab bars, raised toilet seat, a chair inside the shower, a removable handheld showerhead, etc.

Don't stop with your bathroom. You can make the rest of your home more accessible too. Here are some examples:

  • install motion-sensor nightlights throughout the house

  • replace old doorknobs and handles with lever ones

  • add a ramp if necessary for those with mobility problems

  • add handles next to the bed or couch

  • consider adding non-slip or anti-slip floor tiles

  • place a flashlight in the bedroom and living room in the event of a power outage

  • install a carbon monoxide detector and smoke alarm on every floor.

  • consider getting a medical alert system

Install a Home Security System

Until now, we talked about how older adults can improve home safety. And now, we are going to talk about how older adults can improve home security. 

Even if you or your older parent lives in a 'safe neighborhood,' even safe neighbors can have crime, and older people are especially vulnerable. The rate of violence against adults aged 60 and older is going up, according to a recent report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The CDC report estimates that nonfatal attacks against men 60 and older increased by 75.4% between 2002 and 2016. The rate of nonfatal assaults against women of that age rose by 35.4% from 2007 to 2016.

Aside from having armed guards, installing a home security system is the easiest way to do that. There are many security systems you can choose from - from basic ones that offer only one camera above your front door to more complicated ones that provide professional monitoring that is linked to your lights, phones, alarms, and police.

No matter which home security system you choose, be careful when you pick the security company to install it. You need to find the right company for you to handle this matter, especially if you choose a more complicated and advanced home security system. 

A pair of security cameras.

Security cameras are always a good idea! 

Replace Doors and Windows

Replacing their old doors and windows with something stronger, sturdier, and safer is a good idea, no matter how old you may be. After all, if thieves want to come in, they will have to use doors and windows.

Find a company that specializes in making secure doors and windows. Those are usually doors and windows made of thick materials, secured with several locks, observed by the camera, and controlled only by you. 

Of course, different companies will offer various security features that come with these doors and windows, so do some research. Go to several companies and talk to professionals about improving your doors and windows that offer better security. 

Keep in mind there are energy benefits of new doors and windows. Your new doors and windows can offer you better security and energy saving, considering the high energy costs. 

Get a Dog

Perhaps a low-tech option will work as well, like getting a dog. Trained dogs can be a great security measure (if you don't spoil them too much). Breeds like German Shepherds, Dobermans, Rottweilers, etc., will scare away all the intruders.

Any dog that can bark will scare away most intruders, no matter the animal's size. Moreover, having a dog is excellent for security and keeping you or a loved one active, entertained, and loved. Of course, nobody can replace human contact, but a dog can be of great help. With it, you can walk more, socialize with other older adults who love dogs, and have a new best friend.

A pair of guard dogs.A dog.

A scary dog will be a great security measure, but most any dog can scare away intruders.

Be Prepared - Start Now

There are many ways older adults can improve home safety. Many couples start thinking about making their home more age and disability-friendly in their 50s well before retiring and getting older. Is your home suitable for you to live in your 70s and 80s (perhaps beyond)?

What about your older parents? Have they taken steps to improve their home if they are aging in place? Do they need help and supervision now? Do they have Long-Term Care Insurance? Do you have a policy (most people obtain coverage in their 50s)?

Of course, you don't have to do everything all at once. Still, it would be good to start thinking about some of those security and safety gadgets that help older adults live more independently

You never know when your health will decline or if you will have other aging or mobility problems. Being prepared avoids a crisis.

Perhaps the most critical thing an older person can do if they live at home is get a medical alert system. The TV commercial says, "I've fallen and can't get up." We might laugh, but if you are older and alone, this is a lifeline that adds to your or a loved one's independence. 

Be sure your older family members have emergency contact information available. The Vial Of Life Program is an example. If your senior parent has a medical emergency, they might not be in a position to communicate well with first responders. Vial of Life kits can save a life.

The free Vial of Life kit has medical information and decals to let first responders know that vital medical information is available. This critical medical information includes:

  • list of medical conditions 

  • general medical information

  • list of current medications

  • drug allergies

  • doctors 

  • key family member contacts

Get more information by clicking here.

The goal for most people is to age gracefully, ideally at home. That requires preparation. The earlier you start planning, the better off you and your loved ones will be in the years ahead.

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About the Author

Jane Stinson is a relocation specialist who has worked with many seniors over the years. Having seen how hard some of them have taken it, she has decided to start blogging about helping seniors, and younger generations, move to their new homes. Jane aims to make the whole experience more comfortable. In her free time, she enjoys reading and gardening.

LTC News Contributor Jane Stinson

Jane Stinson

Contributor since March 26th, 2021

Editor's Note

Are you ready to age gracefully? Have you considered what you need to be less dependent on others as you get older? Planning for the costs and burdens of aging is a crucial part of an overall retirement plan.

Aging happens and has consequences that affect you and your family. Declining health, mobility problems, and even memory loss will become a reality for many of us as we get older. You will require help with your daily living activities or supervision due to dementia when it happens.

Did you know that your health insurance, including Medicare and supplements, will offer very little help? Medicaid will pay for long-term health care services, but you must have little or no income and assets to qualify for that government program.

Unless you have Long-Term Care Insurance, you will be dependent on family caregivers or your own savings to pay for professional caregivers. Perhaps, a combination of both.

For many Long-Term Care Insurance is the affordable solution. An LTC policy keeps you in control. You will have access to the quality care you need and deserve without draining savings or being dependent on untrained and unprepared family caregivers.

Having guaranteed tax-free benefits will safeguard your lifestyle and legacy, and loved ones will have the time to be family instead of your caregiver.

Don't wait too long. Premiums are based, in part, on your age when you get your policy and your health and family history. Most people obtain their coverage in their 50s. Seek the help of a qualified Long-Term Care Insurance specialist who works with the top insurance companies to find the right coverage.

Premiums vary over 100%, and each insurance company has its own underwriting criteria.

Seek Professional Help Planning for Long-Term Care

Experts recommend seeking the help of a qualified and experienced Long-Term Care Insurance specialist to help you find the right coverage. A specialist will match your age, health, and family history with the right coverage at the right price. 

Long-term care is a very specialized area, and few insurance agents and financial advisors have the expertise. Find a specialist who represents the top companies as premiums can vary over 100% between insurance companies. Leading specialists will often have over 500 clients with Long-Term Care Insurance.

A specialist will save you money, and you will have peace of mind knowing they are making the appropriate recommendations - Work With a Specialist | LTC News.

Planning Tools and Resources Available on LTC NEWS

Planning for the future is never easy, but long-term health care planning can be very complicated and comes with many emotions. Getting the right tools and resources will make the process much easier.

One of the goals is to reduce the stress and anxiety usually placed on your family at the time of crisis. LTC NEWS can be beneficial in providing you with important information for you to consider.

LTC NEWS has put in place several resources, including:

You might have questions and LTC NEWS provides the answers for many of the most asked questions here - Frequently Asked Questions | LTC News. Find all the resources available on LTC NEWS - Resources for Long-Term Care Planning | LTC News.

Does Mom or Dad Need Help Now?

If your family is already in crisis and you need to find help and the right care services for mom or dad, LTC NEWS can help. We have put together several comprehensive guides to help you in your process.

Start by reading our four guides -  

If your loved one is lucky enough to own a Long-Term Care Insurance policy, be sure they use it. Sometimes families wait, thinking they can save the benefits for a rainy day. Waiting on using available Long-Term Care Insurance benefits is not a wise idea. 

Get Assistance in Filing a Long-Term Care Insurance Claim

Many insurance companies have issued Long-Term Care Insurance policies over the years. Filing a claim can sometimes be complicated unless you know what to do or get expert help and assistance. 

Don't allow the claim process to stop you from using the benefits available in an LTC policy. Quality care obtained early will help provide a better quality of life and reduce the risk of a deep decline and facility care. 

If you need help in starting the process of a Long-Term Care Insurance claim, LTC NEWS can help. LTC NEWS provides free assistance with no obligation to help you or a loved one complete the claims process with a Long-Term Care Insurance policy. We have teamed up with Amada Senior Care, who will do all the work - free with no obligation. 

Get help finding quality caregivers or long-term care facilities and get recommendations for a proper care plan, whether a person has a policy. - Filing a Long-Term Care Insurance Claim | LTC News

Advantages of Reverse Mortgages 

Today's reverse mortgages for those aged 62 and older could be an ideal resource to fund a Long-Term Care Insurance policy OR even provide money to pay for care if you, or a loved one, already needs help and assistance. You might be eligible at younger ages as well. 

Some people have much of their savings invested in their homes. With today's reverse mortgages, you can find ways to fund care solutions, care itself, and even help with cash flow during your retirement. 

Learn more by asking questions to an expert. Mike Banner, LTC NEWS columnist and host of the TV Show "62 Who Knew" will answer your questions regarding caregiving, aging, health, retirement planning, long-term care, and reverse mortgages. 

- Just "Ask Mike." - Reverse Mortgages | LTC News.

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LTC NEWS is open to contributors to share their stories with the world. 

You can write a story or ongoing column for LTC NEWS. You can write about many topics, including aging, caregiving, health, lifestyle, retirement planning, and long-term care, to name a few.

Be sure to write for our core target audience of adults aged 40 and older. Our audience is worldwide; however, our primary target is the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Australia, and other English-speaking nations. 

Improve your website or blog's SEO and gain exposure and traffic at the same time by being a contributor to LTC NEWS. 

You can even promote yourself, your business, and your website or blog. However, it must have editorial content exclusive to LTC NEWS and not just an advertisement. It can include links to other sites, and you can share the article link once published on your website or social media.

Email your story idea or article: - LTC News Contributors | LTC News

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There are various marketing options available with LTC NEWS. Traditional advertising, sponsored content articles, strategic alliances, and more are available. 

Learn more about how LTC NEWS can help you market your business, drive traffic, and improve SEO - Advertise With Us | LTC News.

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