January 24, 2020
Smart Home Security Systems for Senior Safety
Connected security devices are helping elderly
parents age in place with dignity and safety
A major demographic event looms within the next 10 years, according to the U.S. Census Bureau: every Baby Boomer will be older than 65. For the first time in U.S. history, the number of elderly people will outnumber children. And as the population ages, senior safety at home is becoming an even more significant concern.
Fortunately, smart home security systems can help seniors age in place with dignity and safety—giving them more confidence in their ability to live alone and helping families avoid the wrenching decision to move aging parents into costly assisted-living facilities.
Boomers have long been considered an independent-minded generation; not surprisingly, AARP reports that nearly 90 percent of seniors want to stay in their homes as they age. This desire to age in place is understandable—home is far more comfortable than an unfamiliar healthcare setting. But doing so can pose considerable risks to health and safety in residences that aren’t designed to accommodate some elderly individuals’ needs.
Maintaining independence requires care and support as loved ones grow less able, particularly for people ages 75-plus. Without regular access to caregivers or healthcare professionals, risks can abound, from accidents and falls to forgetting whether important medications were taken.
Typically, the burden falls on families: more than 34 million Americans currently provide unpaid care for a family member older than age 50. But this traditional approach comes with modern challenges: nowadays, adult children often live hours or even days away and work demanding hours to support their own families. Regular visits and check-ins can be difficult if not impossible to maintain, making it hard to monitor an aging parent’s safety and quality of life. If elderly parents live far away, it can be difficult to know when they reach the point that you need to step in before something bad happens.
Home security for seniors can keep caregivers
a step ahead of emerging health and safety issues
AARP recommends that adult children concerned about elderly parents living alone complete an assessment of their overall living conditions, finances, and general health to determine what care is needed, either on their own or with the assistance of a trained medical professional. Barring any serious medical conditions or limitations, caregiving for parents in their homes can often be as simple as regular monitoring or check-ins. A home security system can help with both.
Family members sometimes worry that older generations aren't ready for modern technology in their homes. But not only are smart security systems simple to install and use; many seniors are becoming more and more comfortable with innovations and networked technology. Pew Research Center reports that four in 10 seniors owned smartphones in 2017—more than doubling the number from 2013.
Frontpoint Security’s smart home security system comes preprogrammed with out-of-the-box functionality, meaning installation can be as simple as sitting a motion sensor on a shelf. Connectivity happens seamlessly and transparently, requiring seniors to take no special steps or unwittingly sacrifice their privacy.
Existing Frontpoint customers can even add Premium Indoor Cameras to their accounts and install them in the homes of elderly relatives who don’t have their own home security systems. That way, adult children can easily check on the wellbeing of an aging parent who feels overwhelmed by the idea of an entire smart system.
Let’s examine how home security technology can help your loved ones age in place, keeping family and caregivers constantly connected and one step ahead of emerging health and safety issues.
Home monitoring systems for seniors give
caregivers a full picture of what’s happening inside a home
In the old days, when generations of families tended to settle in the same neighborhoods, caring for elderly parents was as easy as popping by their homes to ensure they were OK. But now, with families more scattered, monitoring aging parents can be a challenge. And phone calls with seniors who are proud or worried about becoming a burden rarely reveal a full picture of what’s happening inside the home.
Fortunately, video monitoring makes it easy for adult children to check on their parents at any time from anywhere. While the idea can seem a bit intrusive at first, cameras are an important tool that enables people to truly assess their loved one’s quality of life by offering a real-time depiction of their daily routines. Safety is ultimately more important than privacy or independence, but both can co-exist when home security cameras are handled properly.
Video monitoring should never be done without a parent’s consent. Frontpoint’s security cameras are motion-activated or 15-second clips can be accessed manually—so, seniors are never under constant surveillance and adult children don’t have to comb hours of footage.
When properly placed, security cameras offer visual and audible confirmation of activities in an aging parent’s home. Frontpoint’s cameras come equipped with night vision that makes it easy to see in the dark, and the Premium Indoor Camera has zoom, pan, and tilt capabilities to optimize views of a scene.
Images and audio may be viewed in real-time on your smartphone or another mobile device, enabling you to check on your parents if they aren’t answering the phone, assess whether alerts triggered by smart security sensors demand further attention, and observe how your loved ones are being treated by hired caregivers. You can also point cameras at areas in the home where falls are most likely to occur such as stairs or sunken living rooms.
If you need to respond to any situation that you see or there is an emergency like a slip and fall, you can speak to your loved ones through two-way audio features on the Indoor and Premium Indoor cameras.
Activity-based sensors offer discrete
reassurance that aging parents can perform daily routines
Sensors connected to a smart security system are an important element of overall safety for seniors living alone, triggering alarms and sending help for potential break-ins, fires, and unsafe levels of carbon monoxide. But they can also deliver significant peace of mind to the adult children of aging parents with alerts that don’t trigger the security alarm—especially if seniors don’t feel comfortable being recorded by cameras.
Instead of calling mom or dad throughout the day to check-in, activity-based sensors that are strategically installed throughout a home can provide discrete reassurance that your loved ones are successfully moving through their daily routines.
Sensors applied to exterior doors will notify you when your loved one leaves the house and returns home. They can monitor when doors on medicine cabinets and the refrigerator open and close, letting you know if elderly parents take their medication at appropriate times and eat regularly. They can also trigger alerts if doors, windows, or the garage door is left open when a senior leaves the house.
When combined with artificial intelligence, sensors can also report concerning activity …
AI engines proactively alert caregivers to
potential health or safety risks
Frontpoint Security’s new Artificial Intelligence (AI) Engine provides customers with “unexpected activity alerts.” It uses machine learning to proactively alert caregivers to potential health or safety risks detected in real-time activity data.
The AI Engine quickly learns a senior’s patterns and behaviors. When a change in routine is detected—such as the sensor on a medicine cabinet not being triggered when it’s time to take a scheduled prescription—the AI spots this break in the pattern and notifies interested parties via email, text, and/or push notifications. If motion sensors are installed, for example, the AI Engine can alert you to lapses in normal movement that may signal prolonged immobility after a fall or serious health event. The same goes for door sensors; the AI can detect that an individual has not left their bedroom in some time, or spot potential emergencies, like them wandering out of the house in the middle of the night.
Panic pendants make calling for help as simple
as pressing a button
Falls rank as the leading cause of fatal and non-fatal injuries among older Americans, according to the National Council on Aging (NCOA). They threaten seniors’ independence and can generate significant economic and personal costs.
Every 11 seconds, an older adult is treated in the emergency room for a fall, the NCOA reports. Every 19 minutes, a senior’s fall proves fatal.
Worn around the wrist or neck, Frontpoint’s Panic Pendant makes calling for help during an emergency as simple as pressing a button. In most cases, the pendant’s calls are routed to the police if the homeowner can’t be immediately reached by the monitoring service. But caregivers of aging parents can customize the default panic alarm dispatch so that medical help arrives instead. Frontpoint’s 24/7 monitoring service ensures that no panic alarm goes unanswered, alleviating the concern that a senior living alone could lay on the floor for hours.
A 100-foot connection range from the Frontpoint Hub ensures help is always within reach. And the pendant’s recessed-button design helps reduce false alarms.
Home security for seniors includes understanding
who is coming and going from the house
For seniors with mobility limitations, getting up to answer the door can be a struggle. Hearing problems prevent other elderly adults from even noticing someone is knocking. And still others are afraid to open the door after dark if they can't tell who is there.
Frontpoint’s Doorbell Camera ensures seniors won’t miss visitors or leave packages outside for days, where they can become fair game for porch pirates. The camera sends instant email, text, or push notifications if motion is detected, even if the doorbell is never pressed.
Seniors can remotely answer the door from anywhere, seeing and speaking with anyone outside in real-time through the Frontpoint app. The camera features infrared vision, so nighttime visitors are almost as clear as people who arrive during the day. Doorbell notifications can also be sent to a caregiver’s smartphone so you can remotely answer the door and ensure your aging parents are safe.
Once it’s determined that visitors are welcome, Smart Door Locks can be used to unlock the door remotely so your parent doesn’t need to get up. Adult children can also use smart locks to remotely allow help to enter the house during an emergency. And since Frontpoint’s smart locks enable you to create unique codes for up to 50 users, its alerts will keep you informed about exactly who is coming and going from the house and when aging parents arrive home safely each day.
Smart lights and thermostats make managing a
When mobility declines, finding ways to manage a home with as little effort as possible is key to independent living. Smart lighting and thermostats can be game-changers for elderly people living alone, ensuring the house is always safe and bright and set to a comfortable temperature.
There are basically no limits to the automated customizations you can create to suit your loved one’s lifestyle, from automatically illuminating the kitchen at lunchtime to triggering all the lights in the house at sunset. Frontpoint’s Wireless Light Controls can even be used to control small appliances like TVs, enabling mom’s favorite programs to switch on and off without forcing her to leave the couch or struggle with a confusing remote.
When programmed appropriately, smart lighting can even be used to broadcast important reminders, perhaps flashing the kitchen lights when it’s time to take medication. Frontpoint’s smart lights can also trigger alerts if they are left on for too long, enabling you to save energy and money off your parents’ electric bill by turning them off remotely.
Smart thermostats can also be controlled remotely or set to maintain preferred temperature settings automatically throughout the day. That's another boon for seniors living alone, who often have poor eyesight or stiff fingers that make it difficult to adjust their thermostat's settings. Many also simply find the buttons, dials, or knobs confusing.
Connecting smart lights and thermostats to a smart home security system also enables these devices to work in tandem with other smart home features, further increasing safety and conveniences. For instance, the house can instantly brighten when a smart lock senses that your parents have arrived home, so they don’t stumble in the dark. Hallway lights can turn on at a dim level when motion sensors detect someone out of bed, making nighttime trips to the bathroom or kitchen safer. Lights can also be programmed to flood the house if burglar alarms or smoke and heat sensors go off, scaring away intruders and illuminating the path to safety.
For added convenience, Frontpoint also enables smart lights and thermostats to be incorporated into customized “scenes” that can be set to a timer or controlled manually through the app. A “nighttime” scene can turn off all the lights, turn on the alarm, and raise the thermostat at 10 p.m. every day without forcing seniors to travel room by room.
If your loved one has a smartphone, enabling Geo-Services on the Frontpoint app can also automatically trigger certain smart functions when they arrive home and cross the “geofence,” such as turning on the lights and adjusting the thermostat to a comfortable temperature. If they don’t have a smartphone, they can still control their smart lights manually through a Keychain Remote, transforming dark homes into bright and inviting places with a single click from as far as 100 feet away.
Finally, lights and other smart devices connected through Frontpoint’s security system can be controlled by voice commands to a virtual assistant like Amazon Echo or Google Home. Closing up the house at night by locking the door, turning off the lights, and adjusting the temperature can be as simple as saying, “Alexa, tell Frontpoint it’s bedtime.”
Smart security systems help keep aging parents
safe amidst the challenges of a modern family
Allowing elderly parents to age in place requires support and care that can be difficult to deliver when adult children live far away or work demanding hours. New technology like AI Engines, smart lighting, and smart security cameras provide comfort and security without the complexity that intimidates seniors.
And that's enabling more adults to live on their own with a better quality of life while giving family caregivers more freedom and peace of mind than ever before.
Frontpoint keeps families safer and more connected in their everyday lives. We've been revolutionizing the home security industry for over a decade. And we're just getting started. To shop DIY home security systems, check out our Security Packages. If you have questions or would like to discuss a quote, contact us at 1-877-602-5276.