Personal Safety Tips: Answering the Door Safely

Safety is a critical element of any care plan, but while you might think of safety issues such as mobility problems and sensory decline, as a family caregiver it is important for you to recognize that these are not the only potential threats to safety that your parent faces. Knowing other potential dangers can enable you to modify your care routine and support better habits in your parent so that they can stay safer throughout their later years.

One time that your parent’s safety might be at risk is when someone comes to their door. Because senior adults tend to be targeted more often for scams and other criminal behaviors, it is possible for them to be identified as elderly and living alone, and therefore become the focus of attempted crimes.

Use these tips to help your parent answer the door safely if you or a care provider are not in the home with them:

Use the peep hole. Make sure that your parent’s door is equipped with a peep hole that they can look out of easily to identify who is outside. If they do not have one of these and cannot add one, or are not able to see through it effectively, make sure that they have another means of identifying the person before opening the door.

Use a camera. A security camera is a fantastic way to enhance security for your parent’s door. This camera enables them to check who is outside before even approaching the door. If the camera is equipped with audio, they can also talk with the person. Having recordings of who came to the door is also valuable if they feel threatened and want someone to review the identify of the person.

Engage the chain lock. Your parent’s door should have a chain lock in place. Before they answer the door, this lock should be engaged so that they only open the door a few inches while keeping it secure.

Lock other doors. A fairly common intrusion approach is for one person to come to the front door and engage the person living there while the other goes to the back and tries to get in. Your parent should make sure that all doors of their home are kept secure at all times, and if they have a door that they leave open for fresh air, it should be closed and locked before going to the front door.

Ask for identification. If someone comes to the door claiming to be a worker of some kind, your parent should check for verification markers. This includes looking at the type of car they are driving, checking that they are wearing a uniform, and asking for their identification card. If they are unsure, they should take the card, close and lock the front door, and call the company using information from the phone book or a website, not the card, to inquire about the person.

Being a family caregiver for an elderly adult can be stressful and challenging. Fortunately, home care can help. If you have found that your parent’s challenges and needs are more than you feel that you can handle successfully and efficiently on your own, or your own limitations have increased so that you are no longer able to do for your senior what you feel that they need or deserve, a care provider could be an invaluable addition to your care routine. This in-home care provider can step in to fill care gaps and ensure that your loved one gets everything that they need at all times, helping to support your efforts in giving them the highest quality of life possible as they age in place. Not only can this care enhance your parent’s life, but it can also be a benefit to you, easing stress, giving you peace of mind, and allowing you to focus on other obligations and needs in your life while knowing that your parent has what they need.

If you or an aging loved one are considering caregivers in Grand Ledge, MI, please contact the caring staff at Seniors Helping Seniors of Lansing. Call today: 517-332-9953.