There are many reasons a senior citizen or caregiver might want to change up the security in their home. Extra protection can be appreciated, especially as things we take for granted like hearing and strength decline. Ease of use is also a consideration for those who might struggle with typical keyed entry door locks. Keys can be lost or forgotten, and even if one remembers their key, they might not always remember to lock the door. Therefore, a smart lock might be desirable. Senior safety can also fall on the other end of the spectrum, where the goal is to keep them safe if they suffer from dementia by keeping them indoors when they are meant to be home. There is an array of products on the market, such as digital locks, multi-point locks, electronic locks, door alarms, lock boxes, and security locks for seniors that can deter or impede unexpected wandering.
Keyless locks are increasingly popular for a variety of reasons and they solve several problems for seniors. Not having to keep track of a key is very helpful for those who frequently misplace or forget them. This keypad lock does require one to remember a code, so it would not necessarily be appropriate for a senior who has trouble remembering that sort of information. But since you can set the code yourself, you can be sure to use a number combination that is meaningful. This particular lock also includes a manual keyed entry if that is preferable. The Kwikset lock allows for up to six unique permanent codes, so caregivers and service personnel can be given their own code which can be wiped whenever there is turnover. Therefore one does not need to worry about handing out and losing a bunch of extra keys. This lock also has an automatic motorized self-locking function, so seniors and their loved ones can rest easy knowing that if they ever forget to manually lock the door behind them it will do so on its own.
Technology savvy seniors, caregivers, and loved ones will be impressed by the functionality offered in the Schlage line of keyless door locks. This particular product offers a touchscreen number pad and manual lock override, but it does much more than a standard keyless lock. It can be connected to a home network and works with home automation systems such as Amazon’s Alexa, as well as Samsung’s SmartThings hub, Wink, and Iris systems. Users can lock or unlock their doors from anywhere via a smartphone app or the web, so temporary codes are not even necessary for occasional guests. However, if desired, this lock can store up to 30 personalized codes at a time. One can choose to forgo using codes at all and use their phone or pair a Z-wave compatible remote or proximity sensor. The Camelot lock also includes three different alert modes which can alarm when the door is tampered with or broken into.
If additional security beyond a standard door lock is desired, consider Prime-Line’s door reinforcement lock. This style of lock is meant to be installed on the inside of an inward-swinging door to prevent it from being opened unless disengaged. It is resistant to upward of 800 pounds of force and is meant to both keep intruders at bay as well as make it more difficult for children and wandering seniors to get out. For seniors with diminished mental ability who might be prone to leaving the house when they should not, this is a simple and affordable remedy. Since it must be engaged or disengaged from the inside, it should be used in a home where there is at least one permanent caregiver living. The mechanism to disengage the lock uses a multi-step process that can be easily mastered by most but which can be confusing to those suffering from dementia, making it a very simple and useful device for keeping them home and safe. For added security, it can be installed anywhere on the doorframe, including high out of reach. It can also be easily removed in case it is not needed any longer or is better suited elsewhere. It also comes in several finishes to match your current hardware.
A simple and low tech option to prevent seniors from wandering is to install a basic barrel bolt lock like this one from National Hardware. It can be placed out of reach, either low or high and is simple to install on any door. The construction is fairly durable but it is not meant to withstand high amounts of force, so it would be most effective for seniors who are not strong enough to detach or break it if trying to force the door. Installing a simple bolt like this can even just be a simple deterrence to remind seniors that they should not exit the door when it is engaged.
Though not technically a lock, another simple solution to keeping seniors from going outdoors alone is to put knob covers on the exterior doors. These are simple to install and to use, while also being inexpensive and a deterrent to wandering. If wandering is intermittent or is a new concern that one is looking for a solution for, then a set of doorknob covers is an easy place to start. This particular product even has a large decoy button to further confound one who is trying to leave when they should not.
There are plenty of options for changing up one’s security locks if what they currently have is inadequate. Smart locks can solve many problems by ditching keys and integrating them with whole home management systems. For seniors who have problems with leaving the house when they should not, there are also several solutions in locks that can prevent wandering. Most are simple, easy to install, and economical. Any of these options can, of course, be paired with other types of security measures, such as alarms, motion sensors, and cameras.