Todd’s Note: I have a nasty feeling that if the economy continues to plummet and people find it harder and harder to continue their lifestyle of ease, that crime is going to go up. In fact, you can almost count on it! When this happens, criminals will prey on the old and the weak. This is concerning if you have elderly parents or grandparents. With a few improvements to their homes, the elderly might cause criminals to move on to the next, easier target.
According to recent FBI statistics, a home is burglarized every 15 seconds in the U.S. If you have aged parents who live on their own, they may be at risk of being targeted by thieves. To help protect your parents, here are seven quick and easy improvements you can make to their home to help keep them safe:
Trim Tall Shrubs and Bushes
If your parents’ home is surrounded with tall bushes and shrubbery, it’s time to give the greenery a good trim. Tall hedges provide a place for criminals to lurk inconspicuously. Instead, bushes should be trimmed to at least waist height. According to an article by security experts at MSN Real Estate, this shows burglars that the home is well-cared for and secure.
Install Motion Sensor Lights
Keep unwanted people off the property by installing motion sensor lights in your parents’ yard, as well as near the front door. Motion lights often scare away burglars because they draw attention to movement. Make sure to check the bulbs regularly, ideally every two to three months, and replace burned out bulbs promptly.
Install an Alarm System
A home security alarm system can help provide peace of mind for both you and your elderly parents. Many systems can be installed without professional assistance, making it an easy afternoon project. On a tight budget? Some systems cost as little as $30 a month, including monitoring. But remember, an alarm system is only helpful if your parents will actually use it. According to the San Jose Police Department website, “many individuals have alarm systems but do not arm them because it is inconvenient. Many burglars know this and will not be deterred by a window sticker or sign indicating that the home has an alarm system.”
Add New House Numbers
Are the house numbers looking worse for the wear after years of use? Faded, hard-to-read street numbers could make your parents house easy to miss in case of an emergency. Make sure firefighters, police and medics can easily read the street numbers by installing new, reflective numbers in a prominent place.
Set Up Timers for Interior Lights
Adding timers for a few interior lights ensures that any passersby know that the home is occupied. This is especially important to do if your elderly parents vacation often or spend extended periods of time in a second home. Maintaining a “lived-in” look helps to ward off intruders, who are less likely to strike when they think someone is home.
Upgrade Door Locks
Home safety experts at Colorado State University Extension advise that it’s important to “make sure front and back doors have strong deadbolt locks.” Doors with deadbolt locks are less likely to be kicked through because they are stronger than the average lock. Upgrade to a commercial grade deadbolt lock, known as a Grade 1 lock, which can be found at most hardware stores for between $25 and $150, according to MSN Real Estate.
Add Protective Window Film
Reinforce all windows with protective window film, which will make the windows more difficult for intruders to break. Protective film is sold by the roll and can run anywhere from $40 to $250 depending on how large of a roll you need to cover all of your windows.
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