Home security for seniors is all about providing a dependable, effective line of defense between older folks and those who would prey on them.
Home security systems help seniors retain their independence, reduce the burden of care on families, and improve everyday quality of life.
Home security for seniors takes many forms, but all of the best systems utilize state-of-the-art technology to deter criminals and neutralize threats to home and health.
Below are the best home security for seniors options of 2020.
Contract commitments can be a significant stumbling block for many seniors. Fortunately, Vivint seems to understand this and gives you the option of purchasing everything upfront and avoiding a contract.
What we like: Vivint’s award-winning outdoor camera system leaves no stone for burglars to hide under. Vivint security systems are completely flexible, can be controlled from your smartphone, and provide a choice of convenient payment options.
Flaws: If you want to avoid a long-term contract, you have to purchase all the equipment upfront.
2. Protect America
Protect America provides all the equipment you need to install a home security system, provided you sign up for their monitoring service. Considering the quality of the technology and that monitoring starts at only $19.99 a month, this is an impressive value.
What we like: A perfect balance of practical and smart home features makes the Protect America suite of home security offerings hard to beat. Mobile control, hard to disable wireless integration, and 24/7 monitoring starting at less than 20 bucks a month seal the deal.
Flaws: You’ll have to arrange installation yourself.
ADT helped pioneer the modern security industry and put all their experience and expertise into their various home security packages. Will an ADT system cost more than some others? Yes. But top-of-the-line quality is almost never cheap.
What we like: There’s no arguing with ADT’s nearly century and a half of experience or their $500 Theft Protection Guarantee. The company also sends highly-trained pros to conduct the installation and offers a 6-month money-back guarantee.
Flaws: The basic package does not include a mobile app.
In 2015 former ADT executive Chris Carney launched a Kickstarter campaign to raise money for his concept of a security-focused smart home system. The result was Abode. Abode’s plug and play style installation sets it apart from most other home security systems.
What we like: You won’t find an easier system to install. There’s no long-term contract to sign. Choose a monitored or unmonitored version. Both include a mobile app and offer a range of additional smart home features.
Flaws: You have to build your system by purchasing separate components.
Frontpoint provides everything you need for a first-class DIY installation and does not require a long-term commitment. Customer service is outstanding, all the tech is up-to-date, and there are plenty of add-ons to customize as you see fit.
What we like: Basic Frontpoint monitoring seems pretty expensive, until you realize you don’t need to sign a long-term contract, and you aren’t charged an installation fee. This is a good system for renters as it doesn’t require drilling holes or running wires.
Flaws: No security cameras with the basic system.
6. Brinks Home Security
Brinks armored cars have been a staple of big city life for decades, and now the company has branched out into home security. Interestingly, they’ve partnered with Google to integrate that company’s Nest security products into their high-end package.
What we like: Brinks gives you a choice of four security packages. They run the gamut from basic motion sensors and a yard sign to comprehensive motion, video, 24/7 monitoring, and smart home integration featuring Google Nest.
Flaws: Brinks requires a 36-month contract.
7. Nest Secure by Google
Speaking of Google Nest, it’s a home security product that deserves its own place on our list, regardless of any affiliation with Brinks. The Nest concept started as a smart thermostat and has been benefiting from mission creep ever since.
What we like: With Nest, you have your choice of a pro or DIY installation. The basic system offers motion sensors and a voice-activated PINpad. From there, you can expand the system in various directions and integrate it with a variety of smart home features.
Flaws: The starting price of $399 seems pretty high.
8. Ring Alarm by Amazon
Ring was launched as Doorbot in 2013 after a successful crowdfunding campaign. In 2018 it was acquired by Amazon and rebranded as Ring. Another consequence of the acquisition was the integration of Amazon’s Alexa personal assistant into the Ring security system.
What we like: Ring security systems employ innovative technology, including stick-on cameras and solar-powered components. Alexa integration also means Ring is about as close as you’ll come to a complete smart home system.
Flaws: If you’re not into the smart home concept, Alexa is pretty superfluous.
SimpliSafe lets you start with a basic system with affordable monthly monitoring and then expand your security profile organically from there. This lack of ‘take it or leave it’ options lets you tailor your system to better match your particular needs.
What we like: SimpliSafe does not bombard you with a hard sell. You’re free to return the system for a full refund within 60 days. But we can’t imagine why you would. With wireless components, easy scalability, and affordable monitoring it’s a value winner.
Flaws: Not the simplest DIY installation.
10. Cove Security
Cove goes easy on the high-pressure sales techniques and heavy on high-tech functionality. Like any good 21st century security system, Cove is flexible, reasonably affordable, and offers a mobile app along with voice activated control.
What we like: The Cove system lends itself to easy customization. Customer service is first-rate. There’s a lifetime warranty on all system components, and you won’t have to sign a long-term monitoring contract.
Flaws: Cove Security launched in 2018, so isn’t a lengthy record of success to lean on.
Why Should Seniors Install a Home Security System?
Home security is an important topic for any elderly individual or couple who wants to sleep well at night, protect their valuables, and stay in their home in an increasingly dangerous world. A good home security system is discreet, affordable and effective, and can significantly reduce the odds of suffering a break-in.
Many home security systems come with 24 hour a day, 7 day a week monitoring. The security professionals watching your home will respond to an emergency situation even if you are out or are somehow incapacitated. As a result, your home is never left unguarded.
Many home security systems for seniors can also be linked to medical alert systems. And they can be synced to smart home features that enable you to save energy and perform other tasks remotely. So, why should seniors install a home security system? Because it can help ensure a safer, more efficient, more enjoyable life.
How We Ranked
Many seniors are living on fixed incomes, so we insisted on systems that provide optimal value. DIY systems will typically save money in the long term. But not everyone is capable of installing their own system. If a company offers (or insists upon) installing the system themselves, the installation cost should be reasonable and installation quick and fully guaranteed.
Every home security system should offer motion detectors as basic equipment and feature alarms that are loud and clear. If lights are also triggered, and a signal sent to a monitoring station, even better. For more expensive systems, we want to see security cameras. If you’re paying a monthly fee for monitoring, then response times become an issue.
To many people’s surprise, some companies will have a built-in delayed response of a couple of minutes. This is due to the possibility of false alarms. Other companies will always respond immediately but charge extra if it’s a false alarm. We included both options, and you should choose whichever you are more comfortable with. Just remember that pets are a frequent cause of false alarms.
With the basics out of the way, we considered bells and whistles. That means things like a medical alert component, integration with smart home features, and smoke and CO detectors, to name a few. While such add-ons are potentially great, we gave a thumbs down to any system whose extras elicited mostly negative feedback from customers, either because of price or ineffectiveness.
Home security for seniors enhance their safety. There is no way to guarantee a home will never be broken into. But home security systems make it far less likely that a senior citizen (or any homeowner for that matter) will become the victim of a home invasion (1). Criminals often case the homes of older folks assuming they will be an easy target. The presence of a security system can change the mind of a would-be thief in a hurry.
Home security for seniors protects against more than break-ins. Many home security systems can be programmed to interact with other home safety devices. Some come with built-in carbon monoxide and smoke detectors. Some can even shut down water lines if they detect an overflowing toilet, bathtub, or sink. Of course, these types of advanced functions typically cost more. But many feel they’re well worth the money.
Home security for seniors is more important than ever. We live in an increasingly dangerous world. This is especially true for seniors, who often live in cities where crime rates are higher than they are in rural areas. Burglary is one of the most common crimes committed against senior citizens (2) and is often the result of lax security around the house. A good home security system can help neutralize the threat.
Home security for seniors can lower homeowner’s insurance premiums. One of the most oft-stated benefits of a home security system is that it will likely lower a person’s homeowner’s insurance premium. This is important for many seniors who are living on fixed incomes or struggling to retain their homes amid increasing financial insecurity (3). High-quality home security for seniors may cut their monthly homeowner’s insurance premium by as much as 20%.
Home security for seniors helps them protect their valuables. Over the years, people tend to collect things that are of intense personal value. Many also have artwork, furniture, jewelry, and other things that have substantial dollar values attached to them. A home security system for seniors can help ensure that both family heirlooms and irreplaceable personal items are secured against home invaders.
Home security systems for seniors are effective at deterring crime. Home security systems do more than just alert the police that a break-in is in progress. They also prevent those break-ins from happening in the first place. Thieves tend to be opportunists. That is, they’ll take an easy score over a tough one every time. As such, they’re more likely to change their minds about breaking into a house if they see security cameras (4).
Home security for seniors can help them sleep easy. To say we live in uncertain times would be a gross understatement. Any reasonable steps a person can take to increase their level of security is a good idea. That goes double for seniors, who are often some of society’s most vulnerable citizens. Home security systems provide discreet but very real deterrence against home invasions and allow seniors to sleep easier.
Home security for seniors helps loved ones rest easy too. Seniors are not the only ones who worry about their safety and security. The families of older folks often spend an inordinate amount of time worrying about the safety of elderly loved ones. A good home security system can go a long way toward alleviating the concern of family members and ensuring they can sleep well at night too.
Home security for seniors helps them retain their independence. If you spend time researching why people put their aging parents into assisted living facilities, you’ll find most cite security concerns. While this is certainly understandable, the fact is, If given a choice, most older individuals would prefer to stay in their own homes. A good home security system can greatly enhance their security and allow them to remain in the home they know and love.
Home security systems for seniors can be cheaper than other options. Some people don’t see the point of a home security system if they can just go out and buy a dog. What they don’t realize is A) the average dog is probably less effective than a good home security system (5), and B) truly effective guard dogs can be incredibly expensive (6). Much more than the cost of a home security system.
Home security for seniors can be monitored remotely. If you don’t have a home security system and you go out, you have to hope your home is in one piece when you get back. Most home security systems, on the other hand, can be monitored remotely using a smartphone app. You can see what your surveillance cameras are seeing, and you’ll be alerted immediately if the system detects any signs of trouble.
Home security for seniors tell you who’s coming and going. Many seniors have caregivers coming and going, people delivering meals, and relatives who are in and out of their house day and night. A home security system will keep track of everyone who enters and leaves, so you always know who is in the house at any given time. And if something goes missing, you’ll likely be able to tell who took it.
Home security for seniors can protect their pets. All too often, pets become victims of home intruders. Dogs are sometimes killed, while both dogs and cats sometimes escape because an intruder leaves behind an open window or door. A home security system for seniors not only protects people, artwork, and expensive electronics, it also protects pets.
Home security for seniors can make a home more energy-efficient. Some home security systems provide smart thermostats (7) or give you the option of adding one to your system. These can be linked to the security system and programmed to lower or raise the heat when the system detects that you have left the house or returned home. It’s the most effective way possible to maintain a comfortable house without wasting energy.
Some home security systems for seniors can be linked to medic alert systems. The panic button we just mentioned can also be used to summon help in the event of a health emergency. Alternatively, some home security systems come with built-in health alert components that may include a small device you carry around with you and activate in case of an emergency. These can significantly enhance overall safety around the home.
Home security for seniors can protect against fire. Each year there are more than 350,000 house fires in the US, resulting in an average of about 3,000 deaths (8). People often die in house fires because they are not aware of a problem until it is too late. Many home security systems provide smoke detectors as part of their package. Once one of these detectors has been tripped, those monitoring the system quickly notify authorities.
Home security for seniors is not one size fits all. One of the many great things about home security systems is that there is bound to be one to satisfy every need and budget. The security needs of a large suburban property are different than those of an urban condominium. The best home security systems take all variables into consideration and allow you to obtain just the right type and level of security for your property.
Home security for seniors is available for rental homes. You do not have to own the house you’re living in to install a home security system. Most landlords will allow people to install a home security system, as long as they don’t make any physical changes to the building to do so. That means no drilling of holes, no taking down walls to create clear sightlines for cameras, and no installing cameras that might infringe on a neighbor’s privacy.
Q: Why is home security for seniors important?
A: Seniors are among the most vulnerable members of society. Many wish to retain their independence and stay in the homes they know and love. Yet they would not be able to adequately defend themselves in the event of a home invasion, nor would they be able to affect a timely escape. If they are to stay in their home, they need something standing between them and the seedier elements of society. A home security system can be that thing.
Q: Are home security systems for seniors expensive?
A: Home security systems are like anything else. They range in price from very affordable to fairly expensive. Fortunately, you don’t need to spend top dollar to get a system that will greatly enhance the security of your home, condo, or apartment. Many of the best home security systems for seniors end averaging $1-2 per day for 24/7 monitoring. So for the price of a cup of coffee, you can significantly reduce your odds of suffering a home invasion.
Q: Do seniors need a home security system?
A: According to the FBI, residential burglaries account for 2/3 of all burglaries in the US (9). Of those burglaries, nearly a quarter of a million occur at night, typically when someone is home. Seniors are often unable to defend themselves physically against an intruder. The only reasonable type of defense they have is preventing the break-in from occurring in the first place. A home security system can do that.
Q: What should seniors look for in a home security system?
A: Regardless of whether you own a large stand-alone residence or rent an apartment in a high-rise, there are a few basic components that should be part of any security system. Those include motion detectors, entryway sensors that go off if a door or window is opened, and sensors that detect if a window is broken. In addition, a wireless system is harder for a thief to disable, and 24/7 monitoring is a good idea for seniors with mobility issues.
Q: Should I get a monitored or unmonitored system?
A: The main reason many people choose unmonitored security systems is to save money. Once they install the system, the only regular charge is for electricity to run it. A monitored system, on the other hand, typically costs anywhere from $20-$60 per month. The major advantage of a monitored system is that someone responds even if the homeowner is incapacitated. And the system can be monitored for health and other situations as well.
Q: Do I have to sign a long-term contract?
A: There are plenty of home security systems that do not require a senior citizen to commit to a long-term contract. These are mostly DIY systems that are self-installed and do not include 24/7 monitoring. Seniors are often wary about signing long-term contracts, but in some cases, it might be the smartest thing to do.
Q: Who installs a home security system for seniors?
A: That depends on the system. Some systems are installed by the companies that offer them. Others are known as ‘DIY’ systems because all the components come in a box with installation instructions, and it’s up to the buyer to install it themselves, or to find someone to install it for them. If professional installation is required, it will likely cost around $100 on average. Many seniors feel more comfortable knowing the system has been installed by a pro.
Q: Will a security system work without a smartphone?
A: A lot of seniors don’t have smartphones and wonder whether that precludes them from having a modern security system. The good news is that, while smartphones can make monitoring a security system simple and convenient, they’re not necessary. If you don’t have a smartphone, you can opt to have the security company monitor your system for you 24/7. Any alerts will go directly to the team of emergency response pros who will determine the appropriate course of action.
Q: Can I install a home security system in a rental property?
A: In most cases, landlords have no problem with people installing security systems in rented properties. They enhance the security profile of the property which, in the long run, will make life easier on the landlord as well as his or her tenants. That said, if a system requires making any physical changes to the property, those will need to be okayed by the landlord before any installation work is undertaken.
Q: What is meant by a ‘wireless’ home security system?
A: The different components of a wireless system are connected using wi-fi or a Bluetooth (10) connection. This means there are no wires running between the various components. Because there are no wires, the various components can be moved around freely, and you will not have to drill any holes or staple wires down all over your house. Wireless systems are also harder for a thief to disable.
Q: Do security companies offer discounts to seniors?
A: Some do but not all. If you are searching for a senior discount, you will have to check with the individual companies before signing on for a particular security system.
Q: Do all home security systems for seniors have cameras?
A: A lot of systems do, but not all of them. Some provide security mostly by way of motion sensors that monitor doors and windows for movement. Some can also detect if a window is broken. That said, most companies offer security cameras as a part of the standard system or, at the very least, offer them as an add-on. The presence of security cameras can be a major deterrent. So seniors would do well to seriously consider installing them.
Q: Can I deduct a home security system from my taxes?
A: In the vast majority of cases a home security system is considered a non-deductible expense (11). That’s because most people get security systems to protect their valuables, and to the government, those valuables are non-essential items. Or items you could store in a safe deposit box. However, if you have a home office that is essential to your livelihood, a home security system may qualify as a business expense.
Q: Will Medicare pay for a home security system for seniors?
A: Unfortunately, Medicare only covers certain types of what it calls ‘durable medical equipment’ (12), and home security systems do not fall into that category. Even if an elderly person has mobility or other medical issues, and the security system includes a medical alert component, that still does not qualify as durable medical equipment.
Q: What is a DIY home security system?
A: A DIY home security system is one that the homeowner installs themselves. Many older folks who opt for this kind of system enlist family or friends to help with the installation. The main attraction of the DIY system is that it doesn’t require a long-term contract. Another attractive aspect is that you can take the system with you if you move. And there are no cancellation fees if you decide to disconnect the system for some reason.
Q: Is a DIY security system a bad idea?
A: That depends entirely on what you are looking for in a home security system. If you want the peace of mind that comes with outside monitoring, a DIY system may not be the best choice for you. However, if you are on a strict budget, DIY systems will usually save you some money. Also, some people prefer to take matters into their own hands. If that’s you, then a DIY system may be the best choice.
Q: Can my caregiver help with the installation?
A: Of course, as long as they are willing and able. Some people are outstanding caregivers but don’t have a clue what to do with a screwdriver. Others could have their own home improvement show. So it depends on the person, their DIY facility, and whether or not you trust them to help with such an important task. Just remember, they themselves may not feel comfortable helping with such a task.
Q: Will seniors get a discount on their home insurance if they install a security system?
A: Yes. In almost every case, insurance companies will offer a discount on monthly premiums if a homeowner installs a security system. In fact, the savings could cover the entire cost of 24/7 monitoring. The average nationwide cost of homeowners insurance is about $2,300 (13). If you qualify for a 20% decrease on your monthly premium, that’s $460 in savings. More than enough to cover a $20 or $30 monthly monitoring fee for a home security system.
Q: Can I connect my home security system to my medical alert system?
A: That depends entirely on the security system you choose and the type of medical alert system you have. Some home security systems offer built-in medical alert components. In that case, it may be simpler and more effective to ditch your stand-alone medic alert system and go with the integrated one.
Home security for seniors is a serious issue that can have a huge impact on an older person’s quality of life.
Home security systems provide a robust line of defense between vulnerable seniors and those that would prey on them. They can also enable seniors to retain their independence longer.
As long as a person has a private residence – whether that residence is a stand-alone house they own, a condo, or a rented apartment – there is a home security system that can help.
For cpoe.org’s #1 recommended home security for seniors, click here.