According to a recent report by Age UK, there are 11.8 million people aged 65 or over in the UK, and two million of those over 75, live alone.
If you’re one of the UK’s 6.5 million carers looking after a parent or elderly relative who lives on their own, it’s important to make sure they are as safe and secure as possible in their home.
Carers Week 11-17 June 2018 is an annual campaign to raise awareness of caring, the challenges carers face and the contribution they make to families and communities throughout the UK, and the leading trade association for the locksmithing profession – the Master Locksmiths Association (MLA) – is offering advice to carers on how to keep their loved ones safe in the home.
Dr Steffan George, Managing Director of the MLA, says, “If you are caring for a vulnerable person in their own home, there are steps you can take to make sure that their home is secure. Getting the right advice is important, so take the time to research the best options. There’s lots to think about – for example, getting the balance between making sure the person living in the home is not trapped in case of an emergency, whilst also ensuring burglars are not easily able to break in.”
Steffan recommends the following tips, to give you peace of mind:
- Think about access – Make sure you can gain access to the home in a way that doesn’t jeopardise security. You could use a key safe and coded key safes can also help provide easy access to carers as well. Be sure to check that the key safe is tested and independently approved by an organisation such as Sold Secure, as there are cheap versions on the market that can be compromised very quickly. Key safes should always be located in a discreet place and not be obvious from the road or path outside.
- Be Smart Security aware – Smart security is growing in popularity and can be a useful aid to provide access to carers who may be coming and going through the day. But be careful to make sure that it is supported by tested and independently approved mechanical security measures. The UK has for a long time had excellent security standards for mechanical security. However the first safety standards for smart locks have only just been published and as a result, none of the currently available smart locks have yet been tested against the new safety standards and therefore shouldn’t be used alone.
- User-friendly security – If the person you are caring for is suffering from reduced visibility or loss of strength in their hands, then they may struggle with locking up or manoeuvring handles. Invest in key turners – plastic handles designed to attach to a key at one end, and rubber handle covers which provide better grip. You could even invest in a remote locking system.
- Invest in deterrents, like timed lighting – Do your best to make the home look as busy as possible, particularly if the person is living on their own. Timer lighting helps make a house look occupied and can give the impression there is more than one person within the property. A fake TV, which works on a timer to emit multi-coloured LED lights, works in the same way and uses less power than a standard lamp. Outdoor lights with motion sensors are an excellent way to deter thieves.
- Keep valuables out of sight – If the person you are caring for owns expensive items that they do not wear or use frequently, such as jewellery and ornaments, keep them out of sight. Better still, invest in a professionally-installed safe.
- Use a professional – It can be tempting to try and improve or install security measures yourself. But mistakes are easy to make and can cost more to fix in the long run, or even invalidate your insurance. The MLA is recognised as the authoritative body for locksmithing by the Police and our members undergo strict vetting, including criminal record checks, so you can be confident they have the knowledge, experience and integrity to keep you and your family safe and secure.
To find a local MLA accredited locksmith to review your loved-one’s home security as well as further top tips ad security advice, visit the MLA’s website www.locksmiths.co.uk.