Alarm systems for your elderly relatives

Elderly people often feel vulnerable and at risk of being targeted by criminals. While being old can make you less likely to be the victim of some sorts of crime – particularly violent crime that often takes place in city centres – it’s true that older people are targeted for certain sorts of crime, often at their own homes.

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Distraction burglaries by what are known as ‘bogus callers’ are a growing source of concern, according to Help The Aged. These are burglaries where someone gains entry to a property under false pretences. A common ruse is to pretend to be working on water pipes in the street. The burglar will ask a vulnerable elderly person to tap on the radiator to ‘check the pipes’ while he ransacks the house.

Security options to deter criminals

Surveys by the Home Office and Help The Aged estimate that around 350,000 distraction burglaries take place each year, on top of another 45,000 victims of burglaries by breaking and entering. The charity’s HandyVan scheme says that “the risk of being burgled increases dramatically when there are no home security measures in use”. What sort of security measures might deter criminals?

Security cameras

Since bogus callers appear to be ordinary workers like plumbers or workmen, they cannot easily take steps to hide their identity. Someone wearing a mask is likely to raise suspicion.


High definition images are beamed directly back to Verisure’s Alarm Receiving Centre, which operates 24 hours a day, so if there is an intruder staff can alert the authorities or send a Guard response team.

Perimeter detector

Burglars or anyone else trying to force entry to an elderly person’s home are less direct than bogus callers, but they can also be deterred by a perimeter detector. The sensor’s combined microwave and infrared technology make it able to distinguish humans from animals and trigger an alarm – putting on security lights and alerting an operator.

Panic alarm

If someone does gain access to a property while elderly people are inside, the best thing to do is to push the SOS panic button.  This is either a button installed in a particular, discreet location or on the Verisure 3G Control Panel which can be kept anywhere in the house, within easy reach.

panic button

The signal connects straight to the Verisure Alarm Receiving Centre which will receive images from security cameras and activate silent listening so that the intruders are unaware they are being monitored.

Making equipment easier to use for older people

Visual impairment is a common effect of old age which makes it important to have user-friendly devices to control the security system. The 3G Control Panel has controls which can be located by touch, including the panic alarm, and has a microphone and mobile internet connection.

The remote control alarm is even easier to use – a single, ergonomically designed remote control with a single button. When pressed it alerts Verisure who can contact the emergency services for you.

Burglar alarms are also easier to set and disarm with a smart key reader. Instead of trying to remember codes and fiddle with buttons, the smart key reader just needs to be held near the alarm control when returning home to disable the alarm system.

How adult children can help make their elderly parents secure

While plenty of older people are tech savvy, the ageing process can make it hard to use electronic devices with confidence. The smart system used by Verisure allows adult children to help their parents by using the smartphone app which can monitor and control the security devices. Even children who are a long way from their parents can look at live video footage to make sure nothing untoward is happening.

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Since the ARC monitors the alarm systems as well, there is no risk that an automated alert will send a false alarm the police – a major benefit since the police may not respond if officers receive several false alarms from a property.

Other ways to stay safe

As well as having a good security system, there are other things that people can do to avoid becoming victims of crime. Fitting a door chain makes answering the door safer, and adopting a policy of not answering the door to cold callers is also a good way to improve security. It’s also good practice not to keep too much cash at home and make sure that things like PIN numbers are not written down or kept anywhere close to credit cards.

For advice on how to make your home more secure, call today to book a free Home Security Review.