Seniors often live alone or live in situations where they are more vulnerable to robbery or theft. For instance, burglars may feel seniors are easier targets because they are hard of hearing, less able to defend themselves, and don’t have as much traffic in their homes. For this reason, home security systems are an excellent idea to protect both you and your possessions. The added sense of safety will also allow you to enjoy your home for longer as you age in place and give you family peace of mind when they can’t be there.
The primary purpose of a home security system is keeping you and your property safe against home invasion, theft, fire, flood, and disaster. These systems usually have multiple monitors throughout your home with a central control panel and alarm system. A radio signal then transmits information to a station that monitors your home. The system can sense when a window is opened, a door is forced open, the home is broken into, and more. A code is used to enter the house to override the security code safely. There may also be options such as exterior motion sensors, broken glass sensors, keyless entry, security cameras, and digital surveillance.
Once the monitoring or call center has been alerted, you will be notified that they’ve received an alert. If you don’t respond, emergency services are dispatched, and they will contact whoever is on your emergency contact list if necessary. The procedure varies somewhat depending on the company and your specific contract.
What to Look For in A Home Security System
The overall details are mostly the same as outlined above. Still, there are a few specifics that you should look for that make some home security systems better than others for seniors:
- Ease of Use –There are a lot of systems out there with bells and whistles galore, but unless you’re a real computer whiz and you’re really familiar with working in the cloud, you probably don’t want all that. A straightforward system that’s home-based with long battery life means you can largely forget about it while it protects you.
- Regular Self-Diagnostics – These will ensure your home security system is performing correctly, so it doesn’t leave you unprotected without you knowing about it. How many times have you watched a true-crime show where the cops ask about a video camera and someone admits, “Oh, that stopped working months ago”? You don’t want that to happen to you.
- Emergency Medical Services – Not all home security systems offer medical emergency services. Some offer security and police dispatch, but not ambulance or EMT, so be sure to ask. In most cases, it is an add-on and is priced separately, so make no assumptions.
- Smart Locks – Locks that can be easily opened with a keypad code are preferable to keys that can be dropped or lost.
- Video Cameras – Some offer video cameras for interior and exterior monitoring; others provide one or the other, while some don’t offer it at all. Be sure to get the details.
- Window and Door Sensors – Your home security system should be able to sense when any window is raised from the outside, or someone attempts to shatter it when the system is armed.
Three Trusted Home Security Companies
Three names stand out in the home security industry for providing excellent service and support, particularly to seniors. Some of these companies offer DIY systems you can install yourself. While these can save you a bit of money, we recommend purchasing a professionally installed system, which is backed by guarantees and will give you more peace of mind.
ADT has been around the longest and has the most comprehensive coverage in the industry. They also offer the best guarantee around, which they stand behind with excellent customer service. Their certified home monitoring center employees are rigorously trained, and their equipment is state-of-the-art. They offer video surveillance, environmental monitoring, and options for smart home automation. Various packages can be customized to your needs.
- Extensive experience
- Landline or cellular options are available
- The best guarantee in the industry
- Environmental monitoring
- Video surveillance
- $500 theft protection guarantee to cover the insurance deductible
- Professional installation
- Option for mobile app access available
- Emergency medical response included
- No month-to-month option
- Medical alert also available
Final Thought: If you want professional, round-the-clock security with quick response, ADT offers great protection for about $30 to $60 per month plus the cost of the equipment. It’s superior coverage with lots of options.
While Vivint’s standard home security system is easy to understand, they also offer upscale options that include smart home options for those who are more tech-savvy. We focused on their home security system’s more popular features, however, like their professional monitor centers, mobile access, and superior equipment quality when evaluating them. They also offer generous payment plans and equipment configurations, so you aren’t stuck with window monitors you don’t need or features you’ll never use to get the best price.
- Variety of payment plans
- Variety of equipment packages
- Smart home packages available
- Financing available
- Professional installation
- Video surveillance
- Mobile app included
- Lifetime equipment warranty
- Emergency medical service response included
- No landline option available
- Monthly fees start at $49.99 a month
- No month-to-month option
Final Thought: Vivint offers the best technology around, particularly if you want to upgrade to a smart home system. They include the mobile app and emergency medical response in all plans, which is a bonus we like, but you pay a bit more for it.
Front Point offers month-to-month plans as well as long-term contracts, which is unusual. They also have transparent pricing and customer service that is receiving kudos for its straightforward approach and honesty. Their monitoring centers and mobile app mean you’re covered 24/7, and they include emergency medical coverage, video monitoring, and a doorbell camera-only option. Front Point has options that are tailored to renters as well, which is a nice concept that many companies don’t offer. While you’ll have to install it yourself, it arrives pre-programmed with detailed instructions and is simple to do. Monthly plans are affordable, starting at $34.99 a month.
- Month-to-month option
- Equipment and services tailored to renters
- Excellent customer service and support
- Emergency response
- DIY installation
- Exterior cameras and doorbell cameras are add-ons
Final Thought: For affordable coverage without a lot of fancy extras, this is a good plan, particularly if you live in an apartment.
Our Top Pick
Nobody beats ADT Home Security for reputation, bang for the buck, or exceptional responsiveness. This is the gold standard of home security systems and is instantly recognizable. Having an ADT Home Security sign on your lawn has been recognized by some law enforcement agencies as a deterrent to home invasions, so the company is doing something right. They offer plans at several price points and with various add-ons to meet your protection needs.
Vivint Home Security rates high with many users for its cutting edge technology and smart home system, which can be seamlessly integrated with the security system. If you’re into technology, you’ll appreciate everything this system has to offer. It’s also the most customizable in terms of picking and choosing just what you need rather than having to purchase pre-bundled packages to get the price you want.
For value, Front Point is a home security system that can fit any budget because you can cancel it at any time. While most plans lock you into a contract that lasts three to five years, you can go month to month with Front Point. You can also install it yourself, saving money on installation fees. They have packages and equipment that are appropriate for renters as well, which is great for apartment dwellers.
Feeling safe in your own home is essential to your mental health. A home security system’s monthly fee can cost as little as the price of dinner for two in a nice restaurant. Isn’t your security worth the price?