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Access Control and Door Entry for Elderly & Disabled

What happens when someone rings your doorbell? You get up, see who it is, and open the door if it’s someone you know and wish to invite in.

Answering the door is such a trivial matter that we often take for granted. But for the elderly and disabled, it can become quite a challenge.

For some people, getting up and walking to the door is a huge task, especially if they have a health condition that restricts them in doing so. They also might have trouble unlocking the door using their keys if they have arthritis, Parkinson’s, or other ailments that affect their mobility and motor skills.

The UK has an ageing population with nearly 12 million people over the age of 65, most of whom have physical health conditions that make them a vulnerable target for burglars.

They’re not as vigilant and informed about their security as a younger and healthier person and, as vile as that may sound, criminals take advantage of that.

According to the Yorkshire Post, an elderly man was targeted thrice in five months who, due to a hearing impairment, was asleep throughout the break-in.

To combat the issue presented by using mechanical door locks and keys, access control systems, also known as keyless entry systems, can be used for the elderly and disabled.

They are a part of home automation that not just make locking and unlocking the doors, but also allowing people to enter their homes easier for them while also maximising their security.

Many retirement and assisted living homes can greatly benefit from the use of access control and door entry systems.

Let’s look at what access control systems are, how they work and benefit the elderly and disabled, and other security measures to take to maximise security and manage access control:


Physical access control systems are electronic door entry security systems that eliminate the need for keys and help control and manage access permissions throughout the property.

They use a variety of authentication methods to verify the user, check their access permissions, and grant or deny access accordingly.

Access cards are one of the most common authentication methods used in access control systems. They are portable cards, usually the size of a credit card, that are presented to the system by inserting, swiping, or scanning them.

There are various other forms of identifiers offering different levels of security such as access codes, key fobs, and biometrics that include fingerprints and retina scans.

The identifiers can be something that you have on you – such as an access card, something that you know – such as an access code or pin, or something that you are – such as biometric identifiers including facial and voice recognition, retina patterns, and fingerprints.

Each authentication method has its pros and cons and is a great alternative to keys. For the elderly and disabled, you might have to the assess the situation and choose an identifier that best suits their needs, and above all, something that they are comfortable using that adds to their convenience.

For added security, keyless door entry systems also come with two-factor authentication that uses two different types of identifiers such as access cards and biometrics for double the reliability.

Therefore, if someone steals your access card, they still won’t be able to gain access because they’ll also be needing your biometrics for the system to validate the entry.

Access control systems are also capable of logging in the usage of the system such as who accessed it and when. This is extremely helpful in providing valuable data for tracking the foot traffic into and out of the property.

If your property is targeted for a burglary, the tracking feature can help figure out how the burglars got in and who to hold responsible for it. You can check the codes entered at the time of the burglary and see who they belong to.


Older people and people with disabilities have a wide range of needs to consider when it comes to home security and locking mechanisms.

Their health conditions that result in limited mobility and reduced motor skills impair their capability to operate a mechanical lock and its key which cause them extreme inconvenience, in addition to making them increasingly vulnerable to burglaries.

The following door entry systems can help the elderly and disabled overcome the issues with using standard keys and locks:

Key fobs

Key fobs are electronic keys that have a chip inside them that work using RFID (radio-frequency identification) technology.

They are especially convenient for elderly people with arthritis pain who have trouble turning the keys inside the lock. They provide contactless interaction with the security interface, allowing them to access the property without any hassle or wait.


Mobility is a huge issue for the elderly and people with disabilities, making answering the door a huge hassle for them. Imagine someone with a hip displacement having to get up multiple times a day to get the door. That is highly uncomfortable and inadvisable for their health.

An intercom system allows them to see or speak to whoever is at the door, and unlock the door without even getting out of bed.

Keypads/Access codes

A great option for not having to answer the door at all is to have family members, friends, and caregivers use access codes to let themselves in.

Different codes can be given to trusted users which they can enter into the system to gain access. However, they will have the responsibility to memorise the codes and keep them safe.

For added security, the access codes may have to be changed frequently since using the same ones, again and again, might cause the particular keys to wear out making the combinations rather obvious to anyone looking at them.


Managing keys can become quite a hassle, which is why digital door entry systems eliminate the need for keys.

The systems include complete automation with the doors automatically unlocking after verifying the person’s identity. They are also sometimes integrated with video and voice controls for the homeowners to see and speak to the visitors without having to even walk to the door.

Here are the benefits of using access control and door entry systems for the elderly and disabled:

Keyless doors are easy to open

When compared to traditional locks, keyless door entry systems are much easier to open especially for people with health conditions that cause loss of fine motor skills.

Someone with arthritis or hand and finger deformities will struggle to fit a key inside a lock and turn it to open the door. Alternative authenticators used for door entry systems such as cards, codes, fobs, and biometrics all make the task easier and super convenient.

Keys are difficult to manage

Carrying around a bunch of keys can be difficult to manage, especially for elderly people who have the general tendency to forget things due to their age.

Keeping your keys safe and away from the wrong hands is a huge responsibility and losing a key can mean one of two things; either you dropped them somewhere or someone stole them.

Since there is no way to find out which of the two, it leaves your property’s security in a vulnerable state giving you no other option than to have your locks rekeyed or replaced.

Since keyless entry systems eliminate the need for keys, you can throw that worry out the window. No keys mean they won’t be lost or stolen, which in turn means your security will never be compromised.

More control and security

Unless you guard your doors at all times, which is very unlikely, there is no way to know who entered your house. This is especially true for elderly people since they are not that vigilant of their surroundings.

With access control and door entry systems, they can see who entered and exited their premises, in addition to allowing or restricting access – all without having to even get up from their chair or bed.

There is also the option of receiving notifications on your smart device every time someone tries to gain access. This can be extremely beneficial if you wish to look after your elderly or disabled family member or friend since it gives you the option to track and control access from a remote location as well.

Automatic access for trusted users

Elderly and disabled people often have individuals such as caregivers, family members, and friends coming in to look after them. For someone with limited mobility, answering the door for them can become extremely distressing.

Door entry systems such as intercoms allow individuals to see who is at their door, and also speak to them, before unlocking the door with a simple click of a button.

Other options include trusted users, such as the ones mentioned above, using codes and cards to verify their identity and letting themselves in without disturbing the homeowners.

Special care must be taken to not share the codes and identifiers with random people. If you feel a code has been compromised, immediately change it before it lands in the wrong hands.

Criminals thrive on these momentary judgemental lapses and are on the lookout for such vulnerabilities when casing a property.

Time-specific access permissions

Another extremely beneficial feature of access control systems is that of setting access permissions only for specific times during the day.

For instance, an elderly person might not want people visiting them at odd hours during the night. With this helpful feature, they can limit their access permissions to only certain hours during the day or when they are expecting visitors.


For the elderly and disabled people, it is recommended to maximise their home security since they are already vulnerable and a lucrative target for burglaries.

For a more comprehensive approach to security, access control and door entry systems can be coupled with:

Burglar alarms

A burglar alarm security system adds an extra layer of security against unauthorised access and intrusions that not only alerts people of break-ins as they happen but also acts as a major burglary deterrent.

Placed at key points throughout the property, the sensors inside the systems pick up any unusual movement and trigger the alarm, setting off the notification components in the form of sounds or flashing lights.

Having the systems professionally monitored provide a great way to ensure that every alarm trigger is responded to and the police are informed if need be.

This is especially useful for elderly and disabled people who might not be able to respond as swiftly, if at all, to the triggered alarms.

CCTV security systems

Experts believe that as many as 67% of domestic burglaries could be prevented if people had CCTV cameras on their properties – that is the power of CCTV.

Burglars actively avoid targeting properties with CCTV security systems, making them one of the most effective burglary deterrents out there.

Even if they try and attempt a burglary, the chances of them getting caught become very high using the recorded footage.

Professional CCTV monitoring ensures that the property is being watched over by a professional monitoring staff in real-time.

In addition to providing an extra set of eyes to look out for possible intrusions, for people suffering from Alzheimer’s or dementia, the monitoring station could also be asked to inform their caregivers and family members if they are seen leaving the house unattended.

Smart lights

Burglars love to sneak-in in the dark since it provides them with a good cover reducing their chances of getting caught. They look for areas in or near their target properties to hide out till the time to strike is right.

The best thing one can do to foil their plans is to light up the property, eliminating any possible hideouts.

Smart lights come equipped with sensors that automatically turn on as soon as someone is in their proximity. This way, if an intruder even sets foot on the front porch, the lights will automatically turn on disclosing them to everyone around them.

The lights can also be turned on and off using timers – something that can come in handy with elderly people who tend to become forgetful due to their age.

Security dog

Also known as man’s best friend, dogs provide loyalty and companionship like no other. They are full of love and warmth and are extremely possessive and protective of their owners. These qualities make them an incredibly viable option and an age-old choice for security purposes.

Their ability to react quickly, coupled with their inherently curious nature of roaming around and sniffing things ensures that no suspicious behaviour goes unnoticed and that action is always taken.

In addition to being one of the best security pets, dogs can also provide their elderly and disabled owners with a better quality of life by doubling as service dogs.


Calder Security provides a complete solution for access control systems which includes professional installation, maintenance, and repair services.

We’ve been working in the security industry since 1976 and partner with only the best brands for security systems.

Our MLA approved locksmiths can advise on the best type of door entry system for the elderly and disabled based on their individual needs and requirements.

Access control installation services

Because an access control system operates the locking and unlocking of your door, installation must be completed properly by someone with detailed knowledge of how these systems work.

We are SSAIB approved installers and offer all types of access control systems including intercom, proximity fob, card swipe, and keypad. We also offer biometric systems that work with fingerprints or retina scans.

Access control maintenance services

Access control systems are very reliable and will last a long time, but like any technology, they require periodic maintenance to continue working as they should.

We conduct annual servicing to keep your system working well and give it a full check including checking the battery strength, power supply, and connections. That way you won’t get any nasty surprises further down the line.

Access control repair services

While generally very reliable, sometimes problems occur with access control systems that can affect the locking mechanism, potentially compromising the security of your property.

Common issues include faults with the power supply or batteries, or simple wear and tear, and to preserve the security of your rental property, you need to get the problems fixed ASAP.

We operate a 24-hour emergency service run by qualified, security specialist engineers who understand access systems and can resolve issues efficiently and effectively.

Contact us right away for a quick consultation and quote for our state-of-the-art access control and door entry systems.


Photo by Phil Hearing on Unsplash