Door security is obviously important to everyone but maintaining door integrity can become more complex for older people for a range of reasons.
We recently had an enquiry from Lise Duma-Toros whose elderly mother was struggling to lock and unlock her door due to arthritis in her hands. She was also wary of anything too complicated to operate.
Older people certainly do have an additional range of needs to consider – reduced fine motor skills, mobility issues, increased vulnerability and even dementia can all impair an older person’s capability to use a regular door lock.
The following items can help to overcome these issues:
Fob entry system
A fob entry system allows the door to be locked/unlocked by presenting a fob or card instead of a key. It doesn’t require a key to be turned which can be difficult for people with arthritic conditions or those with weak hands. This is the solution we provided for Lise’s mother.
If you have mobility problems then getting up and down to the door can be an issue. An intercom system can allow you to answer the door without getting out of your seat. Being able to speak to, or even see, the person calling before you have unlocked the door can also protect you from unwanted visitors such as sales people or would-be scammers looking to target vulnerable people.
Key safe or key pad system
If mobility issues prevent you easily answering the door yourself but you have carers, family or friends calling in on you a key safe or a key pad system can work well. This means that trusted people can be given a key code which would allow them to let themselves in. The code can also be changed periodically for extra security.
Key turners fit onto your keys and effectively give you a handle that you can easily grip, making it much easier to turn the key for those with arthritic or weak hands.
Other security measures for older people
It’s not just the physical act of opening the door that can pose issues for older people; they can be particularly vulnerable to a break in or a distraction burglary or even at risk of leaving the house when they shouldn’t (such as in the case of someone living with dementia). Here are a few measures that could help keep you, or your relatives, safe.
Audible door contacts sound when someone opens the door. Now obviously we would advocate that your external doors are always kept locked, however door contacts do offer a contingency that would alert you if someone entered your home in the event it was not locked. It could also alert you if somebody had left the house, such as a person with dementia who shouldn’t be out on their own. You can have standalone door contacts or installed as part of your burglar alarm system.
Door security items
There are a number of items that you can have fitted to your door to make you safer. A spy hole and ID card slot can help you verify who is at the door before you open it (of course an intercom system as mentioned above would also do this).
Motion sensor lighting outside would alert you should anyone come near your property and most likely scare them away.
A burglar alarm is not only good for protecting your home when you’re out but it can also be very reassuring for when you’re at home. By assigning zones you can set the alarm just for the doors or for downstairs when you’re in bed. If you have remote setting you can unset it from upstairs before you come down, if you’re worried about not getting to the panel in time.
No cold callers
It’s worth considering displaying a ‘no cold callers’ sign to reduce the number of people knocking on your door. Many scammers will use some kind of cover story to approach your home such as selling something, market research, charity collectors, junk mail delivery etc. By explicitly saying those type of callers are not welcome, they have much less of an excuse to go ahead and knock. It also saves you having to answer the door to people you don’t want. You can download a free one here.
If you have an issue that we haven’t provided a suitable measure for here then why not just ask us? That’s what Lise did and we came up with a bespoke solution.
You can ring us on 01924 371941 or why not pop into our shop in Wakefield?