Residential burglaries are a common crime in the United States. According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, an average of over 6,000 burglaries occur every day in the U.S. While the idea of someone rummaging through the home of people of any age is frightening, it can be an especially scary notion for seniors who are often home at all times of the day and who feel ill-prepared to defend themselves in the instance they come face to face with an intruder.
While many believe that these types of crimes are unlikely in their neighborhood, news reports like a recent story out of Spokane Valley, WA, highlight the fact that even neighborhoods with typically low crime rates can be susceptible to crime committed by scoundrels ranging from your typical criminal to teenagers on the wrong path. Regardless of an area’s crime profile, caregivers and basic preparedness can help seniors feel safer in their own homes.
Steps to Staying Safe:
Make Your Presence Known:
Seniors may look like an easy target for burglars if it appears that they are often alone. By visiting an elderly senior relative often, any criminals casing an area may be turned off by the presence of extra cars in the driveway and signs of activity in the home. If you don’t live near your senior care recipient, home care agencies can provide an in-home caregiver for weekly or daily shifts to keep your loved one company and make a presence known at the home. And, with the power of a home care software or home care system, like ClearCare, you can keep track of caregiver shifts and tasks in the home.
Lock Doors and Entry Points:
A locked home is a safer home. Encourage your senior loved ones to keep doors and windows locked both when they are, and aren’t home. Dead bolts on doors can help make doors harder to get through and a note in home care software or a home care system can remind hired caregivers to lock the doors behind them and help seniors make sure the home is secure before leaving their shift.
Advise Seniors to be Aware
By no means do you want to frighten seniors who are living independently. However, you do want to make sure that they are aware of their surroundings. Remind seniors that they should never open the door for anyone they don’t know and give them a contact number to call if they feel unsafe. Keep emergency contact numbers for family members, home care providers and emergency personnel clearly posted. Even opening the door a crack can be dangerous, yet acting as though nobody is home can also be tempting for burglars. Advise seniors to announce that they’re unable to come to the door and ask the person to please leave. If they feel unsafe, tell them to call someone right away.
A robust home care software or home care system, such as ClearCare, can help keep senior’s loved ones in touch in case of suspicious visitors while home care aides are on duty.
Consider Emergency Alert Devices:
In the event that seniors find themselves the victim of a crime, emergency alert pendants can offer a quick way to call for help, as well as large-button telephones with quick dial buttons to emergency services. If these devices are present, ask home care providers to make a note in their home care software or home care system to make sure that seniors remember how they work on a regular basis.
Living alone in your 70’s, 80’s and 90’s can be full of struggles, and living in fear of being a victim of crime should be the least of your loved one’s worries. With a little preparedness, and help from a home care agency utilizing a home care software or home care system to track events at the home of your loved one, you can make living independently a safe and rewarding part of the Golden Years.