Wednesday, May 18, 2016

"Security Takes On Many Forms As We Age-In-Place"

Security is something that is on people's minds often, if not constantly. They want to both be and feel secure in public and in their homes. They want to know that they will be safe whether they are out and about or relaxing at home.

Over the past several years, gated communities have become popular. There are fences and berms that surround the property and separate the outside world from the residents - and theoretically any threats and dangers that might be present while they are at home or in their neighborhood. There are security guards, roving patrols, and staffed or keyed entrances as well.

Even if we don't live in a gated or secure community, we spend money on door locks and monitored security services. We lock our doors and windows at home. We lock our offices - particularly when we are in the building alone. We lock our cars. We lock our desks. We padlock our tablets and notebook computers, and often use fingerprint recognition as another form of security. We lock our desktops with secure logons.

Security measures are something that we constantly are observing.

In the workplace, there are security badges that people wear - sometimes they need to be scanned to unlock a door or gain entry into a particular area. Other times they just demonstrate that the person wearing it has proper authorization and clearance to be where they are in the building.

All of us have passwords for our many social media accounts, bank accounts, and other personal records. There are companies that market apps for storing and keeping track of our passwords.

These are the visible or obvious signs of security - locks, scannable badges, gates, and passwords. However, security takes on additional forms - particularly for the elderly or those aging-in-place. As people who work with this population, we need to understand some of the dimensions of security.

Wanting to be secure never diminishes. It starts as an infant when we feel secure in the care of our parents. They provide shelter, food, and other necessities for us. They make sure that we remain as safe as possible, although accidents can and do happen.

As we grow and begin to look out for our own well-being, we take the lessons of feeling and being secure and safe with us. We purchase insurance. We are careful - some more than others - about relationships, purchases, and where we live and work. We do our best to protect ourselves.

As we age, not only do we want and need to feel safe in our homes from intruders, we want to feel safe from injury - tripping, slipping, losing our balance, falling, burning ourselves, running into something sharp, or getting cut. We want our homes to be friendly to us. We don't expect to be hurt in our homes.

We expect to be safe in our homes and arounf our homes - meaning the yard in the front and the back. Gardening, sitting on the porch, walking, or other activities at home need to be safe for us.

Security translates into safety and that relates to peace-of-mind. As we - and those we serve - age-in-place, these and similar safety and health concerns need to be given our full support and planning.

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Steve HoffackerCAPS, MCSP, MIRM, is a licensed Certified Aging-In-Place Specialist instructor and best-selling author of universal design books. To learn about this and other programs for aging-in-place or universal design, visit stevehoffacker.com or call 561-685-5555.