Saturday, January 27, 2018

"Home Security Comes In Many Forms"

People want to feel secure in their homes. It is an emotional need. If people can't feel that their homes provide a cushion of security for them, they are not going to feel comfortable living there, and their quality of life is going to suffer.

We have door and window locks, door bells equipped with audio and video, surveillance cameras, yard lights, spotlights that are motion activated, guard dogs, and even other measures such as perimeter fencing and impact resistant windows or coverings for them.

There's an old expression that says that a person's home is their castle. While the term castle may not relate to everyone, the concept of a sanctuary does - a place where there is a figurative moat surrounding it to protect us from intruders and shelter us from the perils of the world, a place where the drawbridge allowing access over the moat can be withdrawn, and one with large, seemingly impenetrable walls.

Home security definitely means keeping intruders out and being able to determine who is seeking access and on a case-by-case basis being able to grant access to the ones we want to come inside and visit with us or provide services we seek.

There are many ways this can be done through various lighting packages, alarms, video monitoring systems, locks, and other devices. As aging in place professionals, we are interested in helping people feel secure in their homes through means such as these. After all, if people are going to be living in those homes for years, it only makes sense that they need to feel secure there.

Home security also takes on a couple of other dimensions besides just the obvious of keeping out intruders or notifying us when uninvited people are present, such as safety in and about our homes and peace-of-mind that our homes are going to provide relative comfort for us.

When people leave their homes - to go to work, shopping, to the park, to a doctor's appointment, school, or any other reason - they contend with other people, traffic, noise, various rules in effect where they are going, congestion, and other stressful issues that are often beyond their control. Finally, after a period of time ranging to several hours away from the one place in the world where they feel truly safe and in charge, they return to their home or apartment.

Some people are fortunate to remain at home most of the time and not venture into the public arena where they encounter challenges from traffic, other people, and various stressful situations. However, nearly everyone faces such issues in the outside world in one form or another with varying amounts of frequency and intensity - many on a daily basis.

So, when people literally survive the pressure, tension, and stress of being outside their homes, they need the safe haven of their homes - their sanctuaries - when they return. We need to help people identify accessibility concerns, lighting issues, and general comfort and convenience deficiencies in their homes so that they can maximize the safe feeling that needs to exist. We want people to be as reasonably free from tripping, slipping, falling, or otherwise injuring themselves at home as possible.

This safety allows people to enjoy a peace-of-mind that they are reasonably secure in their dwellings and free from outside influences penetrating their sanctuary without their knowledge and permission and that their home provides a reasonable amount of safety from household accidents that can occur. Serious accidents can happen in the home, and people need to feel secure that precautions have been taken to eliminate or minimize many of the common concerns. 

People may not have much of a choice about leaving their homes for various reasons, but we can help provide the feeling of well-being and safety they have inside the friendly walls of their homes when they return - regardless of its size, age, or configuration.

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Steve HoffackerCAPS, CEAC, SHSS, is a licensed Certified Aging-In-Place Specialist-Master 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. Also, check out the "Aging & Accessibility" groups on Facebook and LinkedIn.