Best Home Security Systems for Safer Aging in Place

Best home security systems for seniors
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As we enter into our old age, many of us may find that we are living alone or feel more vulnerable than we once did. With crime against seniors a significant problem, not just in the USA but all over the world, it makes sense to install some security equipment in and around your home.

While the good news is that there are a wide range of home security systems to suit all needs and budgets. The overwhelming choice can make choosing the right security system a somewhat confusing process.

In this article, we will break down everything there is to know about home security systems. We will also review some of the best DIY and professional security systems currently on the market, that not only can help to protect your home and belongings, but also allow you to age in place more safely.

Contents

Best Home Security Systems Comparison Chart

Here’s a handy reference list of our reviewed home security systems. Further below is a more comprehensive comparison and review guide.

Abode FrontPoint SimpliSafe Brinks Vivint
Base Equipment Price Starts at $219 Starts at $99 Starts at $229 Starts at $199 Starts at $599
Monthly Pro Monitoring Price $20.00 $44.40 – $49.20 $14.99 – $24.99 $39.99 – $49.99 $29.99 – $44.99
Contract Required? No Yes No Yes Yes
Contract Duration N/A 1 – 36 months 1 month 36 months 0 – 60 months
Installation Options DIY DIY DIY/Professional DIY/Professional Professional
Self-Monitoring Option? Yes No Yes No No
Smart Home Compatible? Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Warranty 1-year 3-years 3-years 2-years 120-days
Trial Period 30-days 30-days 60-days 30-days 3-days

Benefits of Using Home Security Systems for Seniors

There are many reasons that using a home security system might benefit older people. One of the greatest benefits is that you will have peace of mind. It can be particularly frightening for a vulnerable person to receive a knock at the front door when they aren’t executing visitors. However, since a lot of home security systems feature home automation, you won’t need to worry about who is on the other side of the door.

These systems allow you to get a visual on who is standing at the door without the need to even get up. If you notice someone suspicious, this will give you a chance to alert someone and if it is simply a salesperson, you won’t need to trouble yourself with walking to the door unnecessarily.

In addition to this, your family and friends will want to know that you are safe when you are at home. Unfortunately, the elderly are at a much higher risk of break-ins. However, despite records being taken of crimes against older adults, there is much suggestion that this research doesn’t give a true insight into the figures, which may be much more disturbing than we first imagine.

Knowing that you have security features in and around your home will allow your loved ones to feel more at ease when they cannot be with you. What’s more, since motion sensors and indoor cameras can be installed, your loved ones can be alerted should you fall victim to a hazard or experience a fall. Moreover, some of the more intelligent systems will pick up on actions such as whether a bedroom door has been closed for an unusually longer period of time. All of this combined means that seniors may be able to enjoy life in their own homes for much longer without the need to move into an assisted living facility.

Types of Home Safety Systems

Home security systems

When you begin looking for a security system, you have some excellent options. It will depend on which company you decide to work with but you may be able to bundle various options together to create a custom package to suit your lifestyle.

From handy mobile apps to keep your loved ones in the loop to smart locks that will ensure your home is always 100% secure, there are several ways to enhance your protection.

Security Cameras

Security cameras serve many purposes. Of course, the most notable of these is that, should anyone ever attempt to access your home without consent, you will have footage to hand over to police to help identify and hopefully, convict the person. For the most part, if security cameras are in place, they will act as a deterrent for even the most daring criminals.

But that is at the extreme end of things. It may surprise you to learn that a security camera can help you in your day to day life just as much as it can during an emergency.

One of the greatest things about modern security cameras is that they operate wirelessly. This means that you don’t need as much bulky equipment and they generally come with a lower installation cost. You have complete control over what is recorded and when, how it is stored, and how it is transmitted.

These sophisticated cameras do much more than simply record what’s going on in and around your home. They are fitted with motion detectors alerting them to record, and they deliver high definition video, even at night, that can be accessed remotely.

Installing a camera at your door will also allow you to access two-way audio. If you aren’t sure who the person is or what they want, you can have a conversation with them without the need of being face to face.

Smart Locks

Keys can be difficult for seniors who have limited dexterity. They can also be difficult to remember for people who struggle with cognitive issues. However, installing a smart lock will provide you with the security you need without the need for a key. Instead, these locks operate using a passcode system which is typically accessed via your smartphone.

You can also set up codes for your loved ones so that they can access your home in an emergency or simply make it easier when they visit.

Motion Sensors

Motion sensors will detect when someone is moving around your home and this can alert you to an intruder. Many people avoid installing this type of equipment for fear of their dog or cat setting off the alarm. However, most modern equipment is now smart enough to tell the difference between human movements and that of animals.

Glass Break Sensors

A glass break sensor will signal an alarm when it detects that glass, perhaps from a window or door, has been smashed. Since this is a common method of entry for a burglar, having this in place will likely act as a deterrent. It is highly unlikely that anyone would risk hanging around once the alarm starts sounding.

While motion sensors and door sensors are all important parts of the system, a glass break sensor is your first line of defence against potential intruders. It operates on sound which is a unique quality and will often have a good range so that it will detect breaking glass from anywhere in the home.

Video Doorbells

A video doorbell can provide you with excellent peace of mind when it comes to answering the door. The fear that may fill some seniors upon hearing the doorbell can be crippling but you should never feel uncomfortable in your own home. Installing a video doorbell will allow you to see who is at the door and communicate with them using two-way audio.

Panic Button

There may be times that you feel unsafe and need immediate assistance but are unable to gain access to this in the traditional manner. This is where a panic button can come in incredibly handy. When activated, the button uses a wireless signal to a console that is located within the home. This then alerts the alarm company that an emergency is taking place and they will call the emergency services or your family and friends.

Environmental Detectors

The risks associated with things like fire and flood can be devastating. Your home could be damaged at best, but in the worst cases, lives can be lost. For this reason, it is essential to have a variety of detectors in place.

Smoke detectors are activated upon contact with smoke and will sound an alarm and give off flashing lights. Should a fire break out while you are sleeping, this could be a device that saves your life. All homes should have one but it is even more important for seniors who are more vulnerable. Many of the modern sensors are linked up to the emergency services who will be automatically alerted should the sensor be set off.

Carbon monoxide is known as the silent killer and yet so many homes across the world still aren’t equipped with a carbon monoxide detector. While there are naturally low levels of carbon monoxide in the air, if these levels rise, the air can become deadly to breathe. Once the CO levels in a room rise, this will set off an alarm.

Flood sensors are not only used to detect a devastating flood but can also be used to sense leaks which might lead to more serious damage. The device should always be durable and resistant to corrosion and the more sensitive it is, the better it will detect water.

DIY or Professional Home Security System?

Depending on your needs and budget, you might decide to install a home security system yourself or opt for a professional company to complete the work for you. In any case, there are pros and cons to consider. For example, a DIY security system is always going to work out to be less expensive owing to the fact that there won’t be any installation fees. However, with a professional system, you can rest assured that the equipment has been fitted and tested by a qualified person.

What’s more, when you have a professional system installed, this will often come with around the clock monitoring. This could make a huge difference in the case of an emergency and you won’t have the issue of worrying about how you will alert assistance. However, it does pay to keep in mind that, in order to use this service, you will likely have to sign into a monthly contract.

That being said, a professional security system gives you the advantage of full home coverage without any blind spots. These systems usually have a range of backup options such as wireless cover, landline cover and backup batteries so that you and your home are always protected.

While these systems are handy, there is the issue that, should the alarm be accidentally activated, you may incur a call-out charge. There is the option to pick up the phone and let the company know that there isn’t an emergency but some seniors may forget to do this.

Having a DIY system will give you the advantage of being in control. You can monitor the situation as it unfolds and make an informed decision on whether to call the emergency services. However, if you are injured, this may not be possible.

Many DIY home security systems have sophisticated equipment that can be used to aid police in an emergency and will provide you with access to a smartphone app for easier control.

Factors to Consider When Choosing a Home Safety Systems

It can feel a little overwhelming to have to choose a security system but there are things you can look out for to help you make a more informed decision. Weighing up your options and comparing them with your needs is essential in creating a home security system that will best serve you.

Security Devices Required

One of the first things you will need to think about is the type of devices that need to be installed. While some people may find that security cameras provide them with the greatest security, others may need a much more complex system. Most homes would benefit from cameras but how many and the type you need will almost certainly vary from the next person.

For the most vulnerable older adults, a series of indoor cameras will be a viable way that their loved ones can keep an eye on them without having to relocate them into an assisted living facility. They can also be a great way to monitor which areas the senior struggles in so that they can provide further help as many older people won’t admit when they are finding certain things difficult.

There may be specific areas of your home that are more susceptible to potential intruders than others. Perhaps you have a large set of glass doors that could be easily broken, in this case, a glass break sensor is a must.

Monitoring

A monitored system is a great choice for people who would not be able to act in the case of an emergency. These are also a good choice for people who may not have family and friends nearby who they can call on when they are in trouble. Furthermore, a monitored system takes a lot of the stress out of securing your home since, once it is installed, the company will take care of everything else.

The monitored systems typically come with two way communication so that the user can interact with the company and advise them of the type of assistance that they require. However, it is important to check whether the system is continually monitored.

That being said, a non-monitored system comes in useful for people who own a smartphone and who are cognitively and physically able to manage their own system. This type of system is also a good choice if you are looking for something more budget friendly as, while you will need to foot the cost of the equipment, there are no monthly fees to consider thereafter.

Contracts

One of the things that you will need to keep in mind when choosing a monitored system is that the service will likely come with a contract. It is important to look primarily at whether you will be tied into a long-term contract, and if so, how long this is for. In the event that you wish to exit the contract, you will need to look at whether there is a cancellation fee.

In addition, it is essential to check whether there are any hidden costs or activation fees that may not be obvious upon first read over the contract. Things like this are often hidden in small print or worded in a way that makes it difficult to understand what you are signing up for. If you are unsure, it can help to have a friend or family member go over the contract with you before you sign.

Ultimately, it may be very difficult to find a monitored system that doesn’t come with a contract. If you do not want to be tied into anything, for example, if you live in a rented property, then it may be best to opt for a DIY home security system.

Power Outages

Many seniors worry that their home security systems will fail should the power go out. However, many systems are backed up by a battery so that you will still be able to use all of the features if there is a power outage.

When looking at this function, it is important to note how long the backup battery will run, in the event of a longer power cut, you need to make sure you are fully covered.

Monthly Fee

In relation to entering a contract, you will need to pay fees each month. These will vary from company to company and before you sign up to anything, it is essential that you look at what you get within this price.

One of the most important features to look for is how your security information and footage is stored. In some cases, there will be local storage but this is limited. Cloud storage gives you much more space and you can access your data wherever you are.

DIY or Professional Installation

For many seniors, the act of installing a home security system themselves may seem daunting. The good news is that many DIY systems come pre-programmed and take nothing more than turning the system on and placing the sensors around the home. However, there may be some outdated systems that require much more detailed setup and this is something you should consider before committing.

For more complex systems, companies will typically offer installation and while this may incur an additional cost, it gives you the reassurance that the system has been professionally fitted and tested.

Wireless or Wired

The beauty of modern technology is that much of the equipment is incredibly easy to install thanks to its wireless design. This is also an excellent choice if you are living in a rental home and do not want to cause damage through drilling.

That being said, wireless systems rely on a network connection to operate so if you live in an area with poor signal, this could be a problem. This is where a wired system excels as you won’t ever have the concern that the system will fail due to loss of connection.

Remote Control/Key Fob

Many home security systems can be controlled using a smartphone app but this shouldn’t be the only way that you can gain access to the controls. If there is a problem with your smartphone and you cannot use the app, you need to make sure that you have some sort of remote control or key fob that can be used in its place.

Any remote control should be clear, with text that is large enough for a senior with visual impairments to read. It should also be uncomplicated and easy to use.

Smart Devices Integration

More and more people are setting up smart homes and this takes a lot of pressure off seniors who struggle physically. No longer do you have to manually turn off the lights, increase the heat, or even lock the doors. Your smart home will do everything for you. However, this is not to say that every home security system will come with smart home integration.

It is important to check whether the system will connect to your home assistant, whether that be Google Home, Alexa, or the Apple HomePod. This connection will enable you to use voice controls and could be much easier.

Mobile Alerts

If you are out of the home, it is essential that you know as quickly as possible if there is a problem. If movement or sound is detected in your home, many systems will send a mobile alert to your cell phone. You can then gain access to your camera using a livestream to check on the home, alerting authorities if there is a need.

Trial Period

If you have never used a home security system before, you might be a little wary about trying it out. A lot of companies will offer a trial period so that you can judge whether the system will be suitable for you.

In addition to looking at the length of the trial period, you should look at whether there are any penalties for not signing up at the end. While this isn’t typically the case, you don’t want any nasty surprises should you decide not to go the distance.

Best Home Safety Devices to Age in Place More Safely

It can feel overwhelming looking for the right security system, particularly when there are so many options. We believe that the following systems provide some of the very best options available.

1. Abode

Best Self-Monitored Home Security System

Key Specs

  • Base equipment price: starts at $219
  • Monthly pro monitoring price: $20
  • Contract required: no
  • Contract duration: n/a
  • Installation options: DIY
  • Self-monitoring option: yes
  • Warranty: 1–year
  • Trial period: 30–days

The Abode home security system is considered by many to be the ultimate system and one of the biggest benefits is that you can monitor the system yourself.

Pricing and Contracts

This is a self-monitored home security system so there are no monthly fees for monitoring. However, there are packages for self-monitoring that start from as little as $6 a month which gives you a range of integrations and the option for PAYG monitoring should you need it temporarily. There are also monitored packages, should you wish to use that costs $20 a month but regardless of what you decide, there are no contracts so you can opt out at any time.

To get started, you will need to choose your equipment. One of the best options is the starter kit which comes in at $219.99 and comes with the base unit, window/door sensors, a motion sensor, and a key fob. All packages can be added to at any point.

Monitoring

While this is a self-monitored system, this doesn’t mean that you will miss anything. The system will send mobile alerts when any of the sensors are tripped including break-ins, floods and much more. You can view your security cameras from anywhere in the world on your smartphone so you can always check in and put your mind at rest.

The system uses a ‘gateway’ which is the base unit to which all of your sensors and accessories connect. This then sends data wirelessly to the app giving you easy control.

There are monitored options with Abode which include 24/7 monitoring as well as up to 30 days of cloud storage for your camera footage.

Equipment and Installation

When choosing an Abode system, the beauty is that you can completely customize your system by choosing equipment that will be beneficial to you and your home. You can choose as many pieces as you would like and they will come ready to be installed quickly and easily.

Installation requires no previous experience of this type of equipment and takes minutes. There are no wires and if you move home, you can simply pack up the kit and take it with you.

Once all of your chosen equipment has been installed, Abode offers a lot of choices where connecting to your smart home is concerned. There aren’t many systems that work with the Apple Home Kit but Abode is one that does. It will also link to more common systems like Google Home and Alexa as well as IFTTT and Sonos.

Pros

Cons

2. FrontPoint

Best DIY Home Security System

Key Specs

  • Base equipment price: starts at $99
  • Monthly pro monitoring price: $44.40 – $49.20
  • Contract required: yes
  • Contract duration: 1 – 36 months
  • Installation options: DIY
  • Self-monitoring option: no
  • Warranty: 3–years
  • Trial period: 30–days

Frontpoint is one of the biggest names in home security systems and it doesn’t come as a surprise when you learn what is included with their systems.

Pricing and Contracts

The upfront cost of your home security system will depend on the equipment you choose. There is the option to choose a ‘build your own’ system or you can start with one of the packages which cost as little as $99. FrontPoint provides the option to finance your purchase on a 0% finance agreement, which will tie you into a contract until the agreement is fully paid.

You can rest assured since all of the equipment comes with an impressive three-year warranty and you can trial the equipment for 30 days. If you are not happy, you can send it back without any fees.

Monitoring

FrontPoint is a monitored system. The most popular option is the ‘Interactive’ monitored plan which is charged at $44.40 per month. The good news is that there are no contracts so you can leave whenever you please. With this plan, you get 24/7 professional monitoring as well as access to the smartphone app. You will also get notifications and alerts.

However, if you want to use a system with cameras, you will need to opt for the ‘Ultimate’ plan up which is currently $49.20 per month.

Equipment and Installation

As a DIY system, FrontPoint is ideal for people who want to build a package that is unique to them. Some systems come with pre-packaged systems but you might not need some of the equipment included. This is where this system is advantageous. The build your own kit allows users to start with their base unit and add accessories that will suit them.

There are a selection of cameras including doorbells, indoor, and outdoor to give your home full coverage. What’s more, FrontPoint also offers a variety of sensors for doors windows, garage doors, glass break sensors, and much more. Carbon monoxide, smoke, and flood detectors can be added and there are also options to include multiple keypads allowing you to operate the system from multiple locations around the property.

If you want to go one step further, there are many smart home devices offered by the company including lighting, smart locks, and a thermostat. If you are a senior whose mobility is limited, this can be a life-changing addition to the home.

Pros

Cons

3. SimpliSafe

Best Value Home Security System

SimpliSafe home security systems

Key Specs

  • Base equipment price: starts at $229
  • Monthly pro monitoring price: $14.99 – $24.99
  • Contract required: no
  • Contract duration: 1 month
  • Installation options: DIY/professional
  • Self-monitoring option: yes
  • Warranty: 3–years
  • Trial period: 60–days

Simplisafe is an affordable home security system that offers protection around the entire home. It is easy to install and there are several options to choose from.

Pricing and Contracts

The Simplisafe home security system starts at $229 and goes up to $390 for the most advanced system. Shipping is free and the monthly fees are as little as $14.99 per month so if you are working to a strict budget, this isn’t going to break the bank. If you wanted to up your protection, the company also offers an interactive monthly monitoring service that costs just $24.99 and this includes things like additional storage, mobile notifications, and secret alerts.

What’s great about this company is that there are no monthly contracts so you can opt out at any point.

Monitoring

The Simplisafe home security system features an impressive monitoring service that will immediately alert the appropriate authority when a sensor is activated. You will first receive a call and the video footage will be checked to confirm that there is a break-in and police will be contacted; there’s no need to wait a long time for assistance.

There are two choices of monitoring, the interactive option provides you with many more online features and the advantage of instant alerts. This also gives you the freedom to control your system remotely meaning you can keep an eye on your home while you are on vacation, in hospital, or staying with family.

Equipment and Installation

This home security system can be self-installed and since this is a wireless system, getting set up is easy. Everything you need comes in the box; sensors, your base unit, a keypad and fob, plus a range of sensors for carbon monoxide, smoke and water.

Once installed, you can link the system to Alexa and activate and operate it using your smart home system.

Pros

Cons

4. Brinks

Best Monitored Home Security System

Brinks home security systems

Key Specs

  • Base equipment price: starts at $199
  • Monthly pro monitoring price: $39.99 – $49.99
  • Contract required: yes
  • Contract duration: 36 months
  • Installation options: DIY/professional
  • Self-monitoring option: no
  • Warranty: 2–years
  • Trial period: 30–days

While many of the home security companies reviewed are relative newcomers to the security industry, Brinks is a well-established company within this field. Brinks provides a good range of devices including, security systems, smart locks, and thermostats. They also provide 24/7 monitoring services.

Pricing and Contracts

The cost of your Brinks security system will depend on the plan that you choose. Brinks offers 3 security plans, which include Essential, Complete, and Ultimate.

With the entry-level Essential plan, you get 2 wireless door sensors, a pet immune wireless motion sensor, as well as a touchscreen control panel. With the Complete plan, you also get a video doorbell. If you require video monitoring, you will need to opt for the Ultimate plan which includes an outdoor camera.

One of the good aspects about these plans is you can personalize them if you require additional sensors for an extra fee. Pricing ranges from $199 for the Essential plan, up to $699 for the Ultimate plan.

The Brinks home security system comes with a 30 trial period. If you are not happy at the end of this trial then you can cancel without any fees or penalties.

The monthly monitoring fees differ, depending on the plan you select. For the Essential plan, you will need to pay $39.99 per month. While for the Complete plan, the monthly monitoring fees are $44.99, and for the Ultimate plan, the price increases to $49.99. Should you wish to cancel after the trial period, you will be liable to pay any remaining fees for equipment that you have taken on finance.

Monitoring

Your Brinks home security system offers professional monitoring around the clock. The company prides themselves on their fast response times, so you can feel confident that you will always receive the quickest assistance possible in an emergency.

You can remotely monitor your system directly from the app. The app allows you to control most Brink devices including, locks, lights, thermostats, etc. You can also see and speak to visitors when you’re not at home for extra peace of mind. You can also get alerts sent directly to your smartphone in real-time to notify you in case of an emergency.

Brinks security systems use both cellular and Wi-Fi connectively. In case of a power outage, a battery backup will ensure that your home is always monitored no matter what.

Equipment and Installation

There are two options when it comes to installing the Brinks home security system. You can get your system professionally installed by a third-party company that has been recommended by Brinks for an extra cost, which is ideal for those who are unfamiliar with this type of equipment. Brinks will also be happy to talk you through its use and functions, leaving you confident in using it.

Alternatively, the Brinks system can be installed by the user. Everything you need comes in the box and setup is quick and simple. It requires no wires of specialist knowledge and all the equipment is programmed and ready for use.

Once everything is up and running, the system benefits from a key fob and remote control, as well as a handy smartphone app. From here, you can monitor the system, see who is at the door as well as using two-way audio for safe communication.

Everything can be linked up to your base unit, which has the capacity to accept as many as 119 home security devices, offering you ultimate protection and reassurance.

Pros

Cons

5. Vivint

Best Overall Home Security System

Vivint home security systems

Key Specs

  • Base equipment price: starts at $599
  • Monthly pro monitoring price: $29.99 – $44.99
  • Contract required: yes
  • Contract duration: 0 – 60 months
  • Installation options: professional
  • Self-monitoring option: no
  • Warranty: 120–days
  • Trial period: 3–days

Vivint is an excellent home security system for anyone who wants all-round protection. The company aims not only to capture crime as it happens, but to prevent it from happening in the first place and they do this exceptionally well.

Pricing and Contracts

The monthly cost of a Vivint home security system ranges between $29.99 – $44.99 and while this may be a lot, what you get with this certainly makes it worth considering. This is a good option for small homes and it comes with an LCD control panel, a motion detector, three window or door sensors, and a keyfob. All of this equipment is covered by a 120-days warranty and you get 24/7 monitoring.

However, the company also offers a range of other packages which suit different budgets. These start from as little as $29.99 and include various pieces of equipment but all packages benefit from 24/7 monitoring.

For those who purchase their equipment upfront, there are no contracts. However, if you decide to finance the equipment, you will be tied into a contract that can range anywhere from 42 up to 60 months depending on your payment terms.

Monitoring

All of the Vivint packages and equipment comes with full monitoring. Some packages come with video monitoring while others rely on sensors to detect a threat. What’s more, all packages come with a yard sign to deter intruders.

Equipment and Installation

One of the greatest things about Vivint is that there is a huge choice of equipment and you can customize your package to suit your needs. The company offers a range of environmental detectors for your safety including carbon monoxide, flood, and smoke detectors.

In addition to this, they offer sensors for the doors and windows which will send an alert when they are activated. Motion sensors can be placed in and around the home and security cameras provide an ‘all-eyes-on-the-home’ reassurance even when you aren’t in. This includes a doorbell camera. Vivint also provides smart locks and garage door controls in addition to thermostats and smart lighting that can be controlled by your smart home system.

Pros

Cons

Jackie Benardout

Jackie Benardout

Jackie is a passionate advocate for keeping people with all types of mobility problems active. After suffering complications after a knee replacement she knew that she wanted to remain as active as before her numerous operations. Her passion is to advise others on how to be able to lead a fulfilling and independent life no matter what disability they may have.

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