Best Home Security Systems for Seniors in 2021
These security systems are ideal for the older adults in your life, as tested by our experts.
Who has time for home security hassles? Nobody, and especially not the older adults who have already seen enough troubles in their lifetime! The best home security systems for seniors are from companies that keep people safe without playing pricing games or making new technology difficult. Each company below features straightforward pricing and easy-to-use home security systems.
A typical basic setup has a hub with a siren. The hub monitors door entry sensors, window entry sensors, indoor motion sensors, glass break sensors, and dozens of other sensors. In the event of an intrusion, the hub also alerts the owner, caregivers, and a professional emergency response service, if the user signs up for 24/7 professional monitoring.
Each of the systems on this list lets you add extras easily: indoor or outdoor security cameras, smoke alarms with text alerts, remote-controlled thermostats, automated lights, doorbell cameras, and lots more. Read on for examples from six of the best home security systems for older adults and their families.
|Safety features||Emergency medical monitoring|
Comparison of the Best Security Systems for the Seniors
Ring Alarm Security Kit
|Package Cost||$229 and up||Request a quote||Request a quote||$219.99 and up||$327 and up||$159.99 and up|
|Professional monitoring prices||$14.99 a month and up||$45.99 a month and up||$29.99 a month and up||$20 a month or $200 a year||$49.99 a month||$10 a month and up|
|Free plan||Local alerts only||X||X||Local alerts with text, email, and app notifications||Local alerts only||Local alerts with text and email notifications|
|Contract length||Month-to-month||36 months||Month-to-month or 60 months||Month-to-month or 1 year||Month-to-month||Month-to-month or 1 year|
|Installation type||DIY or professional||Professional||Professional||DIY or professional||DIY or professional||DIY or professional|
|Read Review||SimpliSafe Review||ADT Review||Vivint Review||abode Review||Frontpoint Review||Ring Alarm Security Kit Review|
Best Home Security Systems for Seniors
Detailed List of the Best Home Security Systems for Seniors
1. SimpliSafe - Best Senior Home Security Overall
We can list a number of reasons why SimpliSafe is the best home security system for older adults. For starters, SimpliSafe is a reputable company with easy-to-use alarm systems. The company also sells good-quality yet affordable equipment. Lastly, setting up a SimpliSafe system is as easy as advertised. SimpliSafe offers security systems with no credit checks or long-term contracts; just buy the equipment, select a monitoring plan, and you’re good to go!
SimpliSafe Prices and Overview
SimpliSafe prices start at $229 for brand-new kits. SimpliSafe’s website shows ready-to-go kits in order of home size. It has security systems for large homes as well as small condos or senior living spaces. If that’s not enough, you can buy items separately, choosing from motion sensors, security cameras, smoke alarms, and more.
You don’t need to pay a monthly fee to keep a SimpliSafe system working. However, we recommend at least getting a $14.99 month-to-month Standard service to ensure that the system stays connected to SimpliSafe’s professional monitoring facilities. In the case of an alarm, the system will alert SimpliSafe so they can dispatch police, firefighters, or medical responders to your loved one’s home. Professional monitoring can be helpful in case your loved one falls unconscious or if they’re away from home. We all know that older adults love going on trips, so it’s only necessary to deploy security measures for vacationing loved ones.
If you want to provide better protection for your loved one, the premium SimpliSafe service, called the Interactive plan, costs $24.99 month to month. This plan provides professional monitoring, but it also gives you remote smartphone control over the equipment. For instance, you can make sure they didn’t forget to arm their security system, or even arm it for them, without heading over to their home. Many seniors don’t like it when their children or caregivers hover over them constantly. In that case, remote smartphone control can be useful.
Setup and Operation
The vast majority of customers set up SimpliSafe themselves. In fact, SimpliSafe is the best DIY security system. Even older adults can install the systems themselves if they have good mobility. The installation doesn’t require tools; most sensors come with peel-and-stick adhesive strips, and the SimpliSafe base station plugs into a wall. The only exception is the SimpliSafe Video Doorbell Pro, which requires drilling. However, if you prefer professional over DIY installation, you can order professional installation for $79.
Operating a SimpliSafe system is also a breeze. Tech-savvy seniors can use voice commands or a smartphone app if they are on the Interactive plan. The smartphone app and voice commands via Alexa, Google Home, or Siri will let them arm and disarm their SimpliSafe system from the comfort of their couch or bed. SimpliSafe also offers control options for seniors who are not inclined to use smartphones or smart speakers. They can arm or disarm the system with the base station’s wireless keypad or a remote-control button that attaches to a key ring. Most SimpliSafe starter kits include both products.
In addition to controlling the SimpliSafe system, the app, base station, and key ring device have panic buttons. Your aging loved one can use the buttons in case of medical emergencies, break-ins, or other dangers. As soon as they press a panic button, the SimpliSafe base station will alert SimpliSafe’s monitoring facility and trigger an alarm response. This feature, however, requires a paid monitoring plan, either the $14.99 Standard plan or $24.99 Interactive plan.
SimpliSafe Equipment Examples
Equipment from SimpliSafe adds safety and convenience to older adults’ daily lives. Anti-crime features range from security cameras to glass break sensors and indoor motion sensors. Sensors can also alert you to environmental threats: carbon monoxide, smoke, water leaks, and freezing water pipes that could result in home flooding. With the SimpliSafe Interactive Plan, you can add home automation too: The Interactive Plan lets you use Alexa or Google Assistant voice commands or the SimpliSafe app to arm your system, control smart lights remotely, verify that doors are locked via smart locks, and more.
The SimpliSafe base station is a small plug-in tower with battery backup. It connects with a PIN pad and all other sensors wirelessly. If it’s tampered with, a built-in alarm will sound, and if you pay for professional monitoring, SimpliSafe will dispatch help. As mentioned above, the base station also has a panic button that can summon paramedics, police, or firefighters. Lastly, the two-way audio on the device lets your loved one communicate with emergency dispatchers during emergencies.
The cheapest SimpliSafe kit combines a base station with a wireless keypad, an entry sensor for the main doorway, and an indoor motion sensor. You can also purchase additional equipment. Here are the SimpliSafe products we’ve tested:
- SimpliCam: The SimpliCam is a low-priced indoor security camera with night vision. When it detects movement, it sends alerts to the owner’s phone or email. The camera’s motion sensor is for security, but you can also use it to monitor someone with limited mobility. For example, it can let you know if your loved one has gotten out of bed in the morning or if their caregiver has arrived. For $4.99 per month, the SimpliCam will store motion-triggered video clips in the cloud for 30 days.
- Video Doorbell Pro: The SimpliSafe Video Doorbell Pro is a doorbell camera. It features a 1080p HD video resolution with HDR, artificial intelligence for person detection, and an 162-degree field of view. Despite its advanced features, it only costs $169 and shares cloud recording plans with the SimpliCam.
- Motion sensors: SimpliSafe’s motion sensor is a great example of the brand’s value. This $29 gadget functions the same way as motion sensors from other brands that cost three times as much. Plus, with a seven-year battery life, it’s less of a hassle to maintain. The motion sensor is also pet-friendly; your loved one’s pet won’t trigger the alarm as long as it weighs less than 50 pounds. Read more about the best home security systems for pet owners and the best pet cameras.
- Environmental sensors: Keeping our loved ones safe from environmental hazards is a priority. For that, SimpliSafe offers sensors that alert you to threats from smoke, carbon monoxide, water leaks, and freezing pipes. The advantage of using these wireless devices is the central connection: Even if your loved one can’t hear an alarm, you’ll get a text or email alert if you’re on the Interactive plan.
- Smart home equipment: If you spring for the Interactive plan, SimpliSafe will let you add smart home equipment. This can include a Nest thermostat, which makes climate control and energy savings especially easy. August smart locks are compatible too, giving seniors and their caregivers the convenience of keyless entry. Philips Hue lights are also compatible. Like an update to the clap-on, clap-off lights, smart lights pair with SimpliSafe’s mobile app for easy control. Lastly, Alexa, Google Assistant, and Siri make voice control over these smart home products possible.
Whatever equipment you choose, SimpliSafe provides a 60-day trial period. You can return a set within two months for a full refund, including return shipping.
ADT offers what many seniors want: technology they are familiar with from a brand they recognize and trust. From a technology standpoint, ADT is one of the few remaining brands that still offers security systems controllable through old-fashioned keypads. While they have touchscreen systems, customers can opt for more traditional LCD control panels. If your loved one has trouble adapting to touchscreen controls, the ADT Command LCD control panel is one of the best alternatives.
As for the ADT brand, the company has been around for over a century. Our parents and grandparents probably grew up hearing about or even using ADT products. That kind of familiarity with the brand means they are more likely to feel safe with an ADT security system.
ADT Equipment Overview
The ADT Command LCD covers only the basic and essential features. It connects to and monitors sensors, gives the user an easy interface for arming and disarming the system, and links the system to ADT’s professional monitoring centers. It also uses cellular communication, ensuring that the system stays connected during power interruptions.
Packages Components Custom Smart home hub, keypad Starter Smart home hub, keypad, two door and window sensors, one yard sign, four window stickers Starter Plus Smart home hub, keypad, four door and window sensors, two motion sensors, one yard sign, four window stickers
ADT also offers a bevy of security sensors to ensure your aging loved one’s safety. The security system can include motion sensors, door/window sensors, glass break sensors, and even panic alarm buttons. However, most customers opt to add environmental sensors as well. For an extra cost, you can add monitored fire alarms, carbon monoxide detectors, and flood sensors.
Unfortunately, the Command LCD alone does not support security cameras, but what’s great about ADT is that you can customize your security system. For instance, you can request a hybrid system, one that has both a touchscreen and LCD control panel. Adding a touchscreen control panel enables features such as live video monitoring, smartphone access, and home automation, but the interface remains simple thanks to the LCD panel.
Anyone who has dealt with this company before knows that ADT’s prices aren’t set in stone. ADT’s website lists premade packages starting at $45.99 a month, but these packages include the touchscreen control panel. If you want a system built around the LCD panel, you will have to call ADT directly and ask for a quote.
Now, we know that doesn’t sound simple at all, but on the plus side, it allows you to build your package from the ground up. You can tell ADT what features and equipment you would like in your system or have them create a custom package that fits your budget. You can even haggle with ADT if you’re up for it; just make sure they include the negotiated terms in your contract. Other than that, here are a few more things you should know about ADT’s pricing:
- Senior discount: While it’s not advertised heavily, ADT offers 20 percent professional monitoring and installation discounts to AARP members. Click here to learn more about ADT’s deals.
- Contract: ADT requires a 36-month contract. Failure to fulfill the contract will result in hefty penalties.
- Payment options: ADT offers flexible monthly installments of up to 36 months, but you can also pay the entire equipment cost upfront.
- Extras: Adding home automation and video monitoring will drive up your professional monitoring fee up to $59.99 per month.
- Installation: ADT requires professional installation, which isn’t free. It usually costs $99, but you may need to pay more if you buy a security system for a large home.
Home automation helps older adults age in place while retaining as much independence as their health allows. If you’re looking to set up a smart home security system for an older adult, Vivint is the company to call.
Vivint offers a wide variety of smart home products that integrate well with its security systems. It has smart lighting systems that turn on automatically when someone disarms the security system. No more coming home to a dark living room! It also has smart thermostats that can keep your loved one’s home comfortable through the seasons. And if you’re worried about your loved one forgetting to lock their doors at night, Vivint offers smart locks that you can program to lock automatically on schedules. Those are just a few examples of how Vivint can help an aging individual live more comfortably.
Vivint Security Equipment Overview
Of course, home security is still Vivint’s primary focus. The company believes that the best security system is a simple one. That is why they integrated all their products into a single platform that you can control with a hub or smartphone app. Now, full disclosure: Vivint’s hub is a touchscreen. However, as we’ve said in our Vivint review, both the hub and Vivint’s smartphone app are easy to use. Plus, you can integrate Vivint with either Alexa or Google Assistant for hands-free voice control.
A Vivint system consists of security sensors and environmental safety alarms. Security sensors include motion sensors, door/window sensors, and glass break sensors. These sensors alert the Vivint hub to possible break-ins so it can notify Vivint’s professional monitoring stations. As for the safety alarms, Vivint offers smoke alarms, carbon monoxide detectors, and water leak sensors that monitor pipes before they freeze and cause extensive damage.
Those are just the basics, however. You can upscale your Vivint system according to your aging loved one’s needs. For instance, Vivint has several indoor and outdoor security cameras, like the Vivint Outdoor Camera Pro. These cameras provide added security and also let you monitor your loved one.
- Ping indoor camera: The Ping indoor camera is a plug-and-play camera. It has a motion sensor that alerts its users when there’s motion of any kind, plus it has night vision. It also has a call button that will connect your loved one with you. If they press it, you will get a call alert via the Vivint app on your smartphone. A live video stream will also activate during the call.
- Outdoor Camera Pro: The Outdoor Camera Pro is a smart outdoor camera. It has 4K resolution, infrared night vision that can see up to 55 feet out, and a 140-degree field of view. It also has built-in artificial intelligence that detects threats, such as if someone lurks too long on your loved one’s property. If it detects such threats, it plays a loud warning sound and illuminates its LED ring light.
- Doorbell Cam Pro: Much like the Outdoor Camera Pro, the Vivint Doorbell Camera is smart. It can detect someone trying to steal packages outside your loved one’s front door, and you can customize the area you want it to protect. Like most video doorbells, it lets you see and speak with people at the door.
Vivint’s Pricing Overview
With Vivint, you can self-monitor the system and pay no monthly costs, but you won’t have access to the Vivint app and professional monitoring; in other words, it’ll become a local alarm system only. For older adults, we recommend a professionally monitored Vivint system, which costs between $29.99 to $49.99 per month:
- Smart Security Service: For $29.99 a month, you’ll get access to professional monitoring, basic automation with voice control, and access to the Vivint mobile app.
- Smart Home Service: Building on the Smart Security Service plan, the Smart Home Service plan grants full home automation access. That includes smart locks, smart lighting systems, smart thermostats, smart garage door controllers, and more of the best smart home devices.
- Smart Home Video Service: As the name implies, this plan includes all the features of the two previous plans plus video monitoring. The features include live video streaming, cloud recording, and professional video monitoring, but you can only have one or two cameras. Each additional camera will cost you $5 per month, with a maximum of four cameras per account.
Aside from the monitoring, Vivint customers have to pay the equipment cost. You can pay it either upfront or in installments over a period of up to 60 months (five years). Since Vivint products are of higher quality than most of their competitors’ equipment, expect to pay more. On the bright side, Vivint offers free professional installation, a service that usually costs around $100 with other alarm companies.
How about contracts? Well, contracts can be a hassle, so the good news is you can opt for a month-to-month contract by paying for the equipment upfront. However, if you take Vivint’s equipment financing offer, you’re essentially locking yourself into a 60-month contract. So if you’re planning to get your loved one a Vivint system, we suggest paying for the equipment upfront rather than financing it.
4. Abode – Best No Contract Security for Seniors
Abode is a newer home security company. Their starter kits are affordable, and abode’s all-in-one home security, called iota, is a breeze to install: Just plug it in and connect it to a free mobile app.
Abode doesn’t require a paid monitoring service to keep the system running; the alarm will still sound and the system owner and caregivers can get mobile alerts even with self-monitoring only. However, we recommend springing for professional monitoring. The Standard plan starts at $20 per month, or $200 if you choose to pay yearly. It’s affordable compared to other security systems, and you can get started without a credit check.
With abode’s costs, you can keep your spending low, but many people choose this brand for the not-so-cheap extras. Abode can support a wide range of outdoor cameras and has Z-Wave for home automation. Z-Wave radio lets you add smart locks, smart lights, and other wireless equipment from third-party brands.
Abode Prices and Overview
Abode prices start at $219.99 for small security kits capable of protecting smaller living spaces. The $219.99 deal centers on a Gateway hub, which has a siren and connects wirelessly to up to 151 sensors. The kit also includes a motion sensor, a door/window sensor, and a remote key fob. If you need more sensors, you can build on what’s already included with different kinds of motion sensors, door/window sensors, glass break sensors, and environmental safety sensors.
Perhaps the simplest option is an all-in-one unit called the iota. It plugs into a standard outlet and has various built-in security features. It is a motion sensor, a wide-lens camera with infrared night vision, a siren, and more. To keep the iota powered on during blackouts, it also comes with a battery that can last five hours if fully charged. With all these features, the iota device on its own could suffice for seniors with small living spaces, but if not, it can host up to 160 external gadgets. Abode sells iota kits for as low as $279.99, which includes a mini door/window sensor and a key fob.
With abode, you don’t need to pay for professional installation, making it more wallet-friendly than alarm companies that do require professional installation. You can set up abode yourself with the mobile app and place the sensors using double-sided adhesive tape that comes with the kits. If you would rather have someone install the system for you, abode can send technicians for as low as $99.
Abode Security Equipment
An abode security kit consists of a Gateway plus external sensors, or an iota tower by itself or with sensors. Abode’s equipment covers intrusion protection, environmental alerts, and home automation. Abode works with security cameras and third-party devices too. Here’s a sampling of compatible equipment:
- Abode Cam – The abode Cam is a plugged-in indoor camera. It has a wide-angle lens and infrared LED sensors for crisp video footage in any light. It also includes two-way audio for remote interactions with your aging loved ones.
- Nest cameras – Abode works with top-of-the-line Nest cameras, including the Nest Cam IQ Indoor, the Nest Cam IQ Outdoor, the Nest Cam Indoor, the Nest Cam Outdoor, and the Nest Hello doorbell, to name just a few. This integration lets you view the cameras from the abode app. However, it requires a Nest Aware subscription. Learn more about Nest’s camera pricing.
- Smart plugs – Smart plugs let you monitor and control plugged-in appliances remotely. Smart plugs are a popular way to make daily life more convenient for seniors, but they can also provide peace of mind. For example, you can check if your loved one has turned off the oven, iron, or other appliances remotely. If they haven’t, you can turn off their appliances for them.
- First Alert smoke and CO detector – This smart gadget can join your abode mobile app, ensuring that you receive fire and carbon monoxide alerts on behalf of your loved one.
All in all, abode is the best no-contract home security brand for older adults and anyone who wants high-tech security without hassles.
Frontpoint is a top choice for professionally monitored security systems that customers can install in about 30 minutes. DIY setup is easy at any age. Most of Frontpoint’s sensors use peel-and-stick adhesive strips to attach to walls, doors, and windows. Even the outdoor cameras are easy to set up, since they are wireless. You just need to place them where they need to be and then connect them to Wi-Fi wirelessly.
Beyond the system’s easy setup, we’ve had a pleasant experience with Frontpoint’s mobile app. One feature that we think is a great fit for seniors is its geolocation. If your loved one has a smartphone, you can set up geolocation to arm and disarm the system automatically based on the smartphone’s location. For example, if your loved one leaves their home, geolocation will arm the system automatically. When they get home, geolocation will disarm the system. Geolocation also works with smart home functions, such as setting the smart thermostat.
Frontpoint Security Equipment
Frontpoint starter kits’ prices reflect a 25 percent discount from the retail price of the included equipment. The cheapest starter kit, The Safehouse, costs $327 but includes about $420 worth of equipment. If you want to save big bucks, a premade starter kit is the way to go. However, you can also build your own system.
For personalizing a Frontpoint security system, here are some popular components:
- Smoke and heat sensor – Traditional smoke alarms are only useful if you’re at home and have good hearing. For seniors, we recommend that you upgrade their safety with a wireless smoke and heat alarm. By sending alerts to Frontpoint and to emergency contacts, it ensures that loved ones stay safe and that firefighters are on the way ASAP.
- Motion sensor – The Frontpoint motion sensor guards home interiors. It has a 90-degree field of view and can detect movement up to 44 feet away. If your loved one has pets, the sensor will ignore the pets’ movement.
- Outdoor camera – This wireless security camera plugs into outdoor outlets for 24/7 video surveillance. When it detects motion, it records video clips and sends them to cloud storage. It is a pretty tough camera too. It can withstand temperatures from -13 to 133 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Doorbell camera – Who’s at your door? The SkyBell Slim Line Doorbell Camera can tell you. It detects motion, and it lets you use the Frontpoint app to check your doorstep anytime. The doorbell has infrared night vision and two-way audio. It also features an exceptionally wide-angle lens of 180 degrees, and it detects motion up to 8 feet away, even at night.
- Smart door lock – Enjoy the convenience of keyless entry! Smart door locks are especially useful if you have home caregivers, as you can assign unique PINs to everyone. That’s more secure than handing out key duplicates. Paid Frontpoint monitoring also lets you set PINs and track comings and goings with the mobile app.
Not long ago, Frontpoint required long-term contracts for its mobile app and professional monitoring. Now, you can get Frontpoint with a month-to-month contract after buying the equipment upfront. To make things even simpler, Frontpoint now offers only one monitoring plan that encompasses all the features Frontpoint has to offer. The Ultimate Monitoring plan, as Frontpoint calls it, includes basic protection in the form of 24/7 professional monitoring, smartphone app control, home automation, video monitoring, and cellular communication. You can get all those features for $49.99 a month.
If you stop paying for monitoring, the Frontpoint hub siren will still sound locally. However, the system will not have tamper detection or a mobile connection. Obviously, payment makes a big difference! You can try Frontpoint’s professional monitoring risk-free for 30 days.
6. Ring Alarm - Easiest to Use Senior Home Security
Ring launched in 2013 with video doorbells. These Ring video doorbells have inspired countless competitors and remain popular all-in-one security systems for small apartments. The company has also expanded to offer complete home security kits for safety and home automation. These security systems work with Amazon Alexa: The virtual assistant can arm your home, adjust lights, start your coffee maker, adjust TV volume, and so on. Ring Alarm is also compatible with the Google Assistant.
Ring Monitoring Prices
With Ring, you can choose from DIY and professional monitoring. There’s no charge for alerts via mobile app or desktop. However, if you want to self-monitor the system and record event clips using your Ring cameras, there’s a $3 charge per month. This plan, called the Ring Protect Basic, will give you 60 days of video history from one camera. If you want more than one camera to record, you can opt for the Ring Protect Plus plan. It includes cloud storage plus professional monitoring for all Ring surveillance cameras, Ring smoke detectors, water leak sensors, remote-controlled lights, and other Ring smart home devices. Ring Protect Plus is one of the most affordable professional monitoring plans we’ve seen.
Features Ring Protect Basic Ring Protect Plus Monthly price $3 $10 Yearly price $30 $100 60-day cloud storage ✓ ✓ Number of cameras 1 Unlimited Professional monitoring X ✓ Device theft insurance ✓ ✓ Cellular backup for Ring Alarm X ✓ Share and download shared videos X ✓ Extended lifetime warranty X ✓ Discount on select Ring products X ✓
Ring Alarm Security Equipment
A Ring video doorbell can work without other equipment; you can monitor it with a free mobile app. With several models to choose from, there’s something for every door size and preference. Some can also run on batteries or solar power for extra-quick installation.
The cheapest complete Ring Alarm security kit, which can guard spaces of up to 1,000 square feet, sells for $159.99. It includes a base station, a keypad, an entry sensor, a motion detector, and a Wi-Fi range extender.
The Ring Alarm base station has a Z-Wave radio chip for communicating with add-on devices from Ring and other brands (see all the pricing for Ring Alarm). Here are some of those compatible devices:
- Ring Video Doorbell 2 – The Ring Video Doorbell 2 is one of Ring’s most popular video doorbells. You can install it over existing doorbell wires, or you can keep it wireless. It also includes a battery pack that can power the device for months. The Ring Video Doorbell 2 lets you know who’s at your loved one’s door, even if they keep quiet, thanks to its motion sensor. It also has two-way audio in case you’d like to talk.
- Ring Stick Up Cam Battery – The Ring Stick Up Cam Battery can go anywhere, as the name suggests. It’s weatherproof, and you can either plug it in or use the included battery or an optional solar panel to power the camera. Special features include motion detection, infrared night vision, and two-way talk, all of which are essential for monitoring an aging loved one.
- Alarm flood and freeze sensor – It’s easy to ignore your basement, especially for older adults who want to avoid stairs. Keeping Ring sensors for water hazards in your basement and elsewhere in the home can prevent expensive water damage.
- Plug-in dimmer switch – Smart light switches by GE are compatible with the Ring mobile app. By voice or smartphone, you can control your lights, one at a time or in groups, for convenience.
- Plug-in smart outlet – Smart outlets let you monitor connected appliances and turn them on and off remotely. So, even if you’re in your own home, you can still monitor your loved one’s appliances. Ring Alarm works with GE smart outlets that plug into standard AC outlets.
All-new Ring Alarm equipment comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee.
How We Picked the Best Security Systems for Older Adults
Picking a security system is never easy, especially if you’re shopping for an older adult who wants to age independently. There are many factors to consider. Aside from the quality and price of the system, we must take into account how it integrates into our loved ones’ lifestyles. We must also plan ahead for changes that might occur. For example, if your loved one decides to move to a senior home, will the alarm company let them cancel the contract? When we tested security systems for older adults, we looked for those that are flexible to the needs of seniors. That means security systems with short-term contracts or no contracts at all. However, we also tested security systems that require long-term contracts, as those systems offer a different kind of flexibility — financial flexibility, that is, by letting customers pay a lower equipment fee upfront in exchange for signing a contract.
We want security systems that offer the latest in technology, such as cellular monitoring and home automation, yet are easy to use. Some older adults aren’t adept at using smartphones, so we favored systems that offer multiple control options. For instance, voice control is simpler than navigating a smartphone app. With a voice assistant-powered smart speaker, like an Echo Show 8 or Nest Hub Max, older adults can arm or disarm their security system without getting up. We recommend placing a smart speaker in key areas of the house, such as the living room and bedroom.
Accessibility is another factor. We want our loved ones to be able to control their security system wherever they may be in the house. Remote key fobs are the answer to that. Of course, no security system is complete without a keypad placed near the front door. Some older adults prefer old-fashioned keypads with physical buttons, but there are also touchscreen keypads with easy-to-use interfaces.
Access to Help
For older adults, we recommend professionally monitored security systems. Professional monitoring ensures that older adults get the help they need in emergencies. Alarm companies can dispatch police, firefighters, and paramedics when sensors go off. However, professional monitoring requires monthly fees. Based on what we’ve seen, the cost ranges from $10 to $60 per month.
If paying monthly fees isn’t ideal for you, self-monitored systems that can send text, email, or push notifications to caregivers and family members are the next best option. In the event of break-ins, intrusions, or medical emergencies, self-monitored systems will alert the owner’s emergency contacts but won’t dispatch help. It’s up to the caregivers to contact the required help.
Sensors and Devices
Older adults can use all the help they can get in detecting and preventing dangers. Of course, most security systems come with motion sensors and door/window sensors, which are instrumental in detecting intrusions. However, we want as much coverage as possible, so we tested systems that work with indoor and outdoor cameras, video doorbells, and glass break sensors. As a side note, although the main purpose of glass break sensors is to alert you of break-ins, they actually detect all sounds that resemble glass breaking. Placing one in your loved one’s kitchen, bathroom, or bedroom might help you detect a fall.
Aside from ensuring their security, we want to make sure our loved ones are safe from hazards like fire, smoke, carbon monoxide, flooding, and frozen pipes. When testing security systems, we picked those that work with smoke alarms, CO detectors, flood sensors, and freeze or temperature sensors. Professionally monitored systems dispatch firefighters and medical responders directly when they detect fire, smoke, or carbon monoxide.
Home automation can make life more comfortable for older adults. Smart thermostats keep the house comfortably warm during the winter and cool during the summer, and they are great for energy savings. Smart lights can turn on automatically at night, so our loved ones won’t ever fumble for light switches in the dark. Smart locks ensure that doors are locked at night and also make keyless entry possible.
Most security systems these days offer home automation, but we picked those that are easiest to integrate and use. For instance, systems that require us to use a smartphone just to turn on lights are not ideal. Instead, we picked those that will turn on the lights automatically on schedule or based on the time the sun sets. We also like home automation systems that respond to the users’ actions. For example, some smart locks lock the doors automatically when you arm the security system. So, if a senior goes to bed or goes outside, the smart lock locks the door for them.
The living conditions and needs of a senior may change abruptly, so long-term contracts are not ideal. That’s why we focused on alarm companies with no contracts and those that have annual or shorter contracts. We also included alarm companies that have month-to-month and long-term contract options. That way, you can choose to pay the equipment upfront and enjoy a month-to-month contract, or to get equipment financing but sign a longer contract.
Some alarm companies require professional installation, while others allow DIY installation. Professional installation is effortless on your senior loved one’s and your part. You just have to wait for the installers to show up and they’ll set up everything for you. However, professional installation costs money most of the time, starting at about $100. On the other hand, DIY installation is free, but some systems require tools for installation, which is not ideal for seniors with limited mobility. We included alarm systems that allow either or both types of installation.
How can I monitor an older adult at their home?
You can monitor an older adult at their home using security systems that feature remote smartphone access. By installing the system’s companion app on your phone, you can monitor the security system in your loved one’s home and be the first to know when there are emergencies. You can even use the app to arm or disarm their security system remotely. You can also use security cameras that stream to smartphones, but be sure to check with your loved one before installing one in their home. They might see the cameras as privacy intrusions.
Can seniors get discounts on security systems?
Seniors can get discounts on security systems if the alarm company offers senior discounts. However, not all alarm companies advertise such discounts openly. You may have to call their customer service to find out exactly how much you’ll save.
Can seniors connect their medical alerts to security systems?
Seniors can connect their medical alert to their security system if both support the integration. There are security systems that integrate well with medical alert systems. There are even alarm companies that offer both personal emergency response systems (PERS) and security systems. However, if your security system doesn’t connect with medical alert systems, it’s best to ask the alarm company what products they recommend for seniors. A panic button, for instance, can connect your loved one to the alarm company with a press of a button.
Do seniors need security systems?
Seniors need security systems just as much as younger adults do, if not more. It’s not unheard of for burglars to target older adults’ homes, so it’s best to ensure your loved one’s safety with a dependable security system. Most security systems also have environmental safety sensors, such as smoke alarms and CO detectors, to protect their owners from environmental hazards.