Did I forget to cover an important topic? The post of a few days ago, What's Best: Aging in Place or a Retirement Community, provided several links to resources to help you decide what might be best for your satisfying retirement living decision. But one topic that was not addressed is the issue of security for seniors. Home invasions, burglaries, robberies, and other crimes are not restricted to older folks. But, news reports make it clear we are usually easier targets.
We are more likely to open a door when someone rings the bell. We are more trusting of a "repair person" who says he is checking for some type of utility issue in the neighborhood. Often our homes are older, meaning the locks may be less secure and the windows harder to lock. Forgetting to close the garage door is not uncommon.
The bottom line comes down to security for you and your property. Here are a some common sense steps you can take to protect yourself in your home:
*Spend some time walking around your home, both inside and out. Where are places someone could gain access (doors, windows, sliding patio doors). What type of security devices are installed now? What might need to be upgraded?
* Are your front and rear door areas well lit at night? Criminals love dark places.
*If mobility is a problem for you, consider installing exterior cameras so you can see what is going on outside your home or who is at the front door. If your budget is too tight, consider installing a camera that isn't actually hooked up to anything. Bad people don't know that and will shy away from homes with cameras.
*All exterior doors should have strong dead bolt locks. Almost any key lock can be picked, but properly installed dead bolts will keep away all but the most determined thieves.
*If you have a large doggy door you have a large hole in the side of your home. It may not be convenient, but sliding a locking panel down at night is a step you should consider. Also, don't forget to have a good lock on the door into the home from the garage. If you leave the garage door up or someone gains entry, that is an open passage into your house.
* Windows should have solid locks as well. If your windows slide open and closed, simple channel thumb locks are available at any hardware store.
* A peep hole in your front door should be installed if there is no way to see who is at the door. Never, ever open a door if you don't know who is on the other side.
*Have a can of pepper-spray by each door. If you have any question about who you are opening to door to, have the can in your hand for quick use.
* Keep window shades or blinds down at night. Don't keep large quantities of cash at home and store all valuable papers in a safety deposit box at your bank. If you have guns, keep them securely locked and out of sight.
For many folks the wisest course is to install a home security system. These can be basic and effective with alarms rigged to your doors and windows. For more protection, you can add motion detectors and even alarms that tell you if a water heater or clothes washer is spewing water all over the floor. One caution: pick a company with a good reputation that provides constant monitoring. The false security you have from a company that lets you down when you most need it isn't worth saving a few dollars a month.
As we age, health concerns become more important, and potentially more dangerous. An alarm that you wear around your neck or as a watch can be triggered by you if you fall or hurt yourself and can't get to a phone. Much like the home security systems, pushing the button summons help to you when you might need it to save your life. The costs are very reasonable.
As more of us stay in our homes for as long as possible, our safety and security takes on more importance. The hints and ideas presented here are basic steps most anyone can take. Obviously there is no guarantee that you can completely keep yourself from being a victim of a crime no matter how many locks you install. But, being proactive, assessing your situation, and doing what you can to make your home environment as uncomfortable as possible to criminals, makes it that much more comfortable for those who live inside.
Disclaimer: I was compensated for this post, in part, by the home security company, ADT . I have been a customer of theirs in the past. Luckily, I never had to use the system due to a break-in, but I did feel much safer when I had to be away from my family for business travel over 150 days a year.
Whether you avail yourself of their services or not, security and protection are things that cannot be ignored. Take the time to do something today to protect you and your loved ones. I want you to stay a reader of satisfying retirement for years to come.