Staying secure at home is a concern at any age – especially for seniors. Older adults often feel vulnerable at home and worry about intruders and break-ins. A home security system is an important investment, but one that’s absolutely worth making. Not all systems are created equal, especially when it comes to usability for the aging population. Here are a few of our favorites.
As a senior, the life you enjoy is the fruit of a lifetime’s worth of hard work. With that said, seniors and their hard-earned wealth are frequently targeted by con artists and crooks, including brazen criminals who specialize in home invasions and burglaries.
While this group of people is particularly vulnerable to certain types of crime, you don’t need to be defenseless. Modern security systems are more effective than ever, and the extensive feature sets available through the most trusted brands can prevent crimes and get you help fast in the event that something does happen on your property.
But which security systems are the best, and which ones offer the most to seniors? That’s what we’re here to talk about today. Below, we’ll lay out your best bets for home security in your golden years.
The Best Home Security Systems for Senior
Seniors shouldn’t have to become experts in technology or home security just to protect themselves and the things they treasure. That’s why our list rewards home security systems that combine effective protection with professional installation and ease of use. In our view, no company meets these criteria as completely and as effectively as ADT.
Systems: Every ADT system includes a digital control panel, entryway contacts that detect entry attempts at egress points like doors and windows, a wireless keychain remote, a motion detector, yard signs, and window decals. ADT monitors its customers’ systems 24/7, and that offsite monitoring is paired with a high-decibel alarm that will scare off would-be intruders. Their systems are made to order, ensuring that they can fit any home, from one-bedroom condos to mansions. To figure out which devices suit your needs, you should give a call to their customer service line.
Installation: ADT is a great choice for seniors in part because the company will send in professionals to set up your system. There’s a charge for this service, but it will save seniors some work and ensure that everything is set up properly and securely. Especially when it comes to wiring and connections, many people will benefit from leaving setup to the pros.
Management:Depending on your particular system, you’ll manage it primarily through the keypad, which will allow you to set and disarm your system on demand. You can also use a keychain dongle, which doubles as a panic button in case of trouble. Some systems allow you to use the ADT smartphone app to control all aspects of your home security, including controlling smart devices and checking in on your home, no matter where you are.
Monitoring:ADT monitors its customers’ systems 24/7.
Extras: ADT offers lots of different features and installation options, including smart home security products. You can customize your system to include environmental monitoring (such as flood, fire, and carbon monoxide detection), smart home controls, cameras, and live streaming of camera feeds.
Cost:Your cost will vary depending on what your package includes, but prices generally range from $36.99 to $52.99 per month. Installation costs $99. ADT also offers a 6-month money-back guarantee. The service will also reimburse you for insurance deductible costs of up to $500 in the event of theft, though details of that reimbursement will vary by area and contract.
Contract:ADT requires a 36-month (three-year) monitoring contract to start things off, and you’ll be subject to penalties if you want to cancel early. However, the money-back guarantee will allow you to escape at any point during the first six months if you so desire.
Like ADT, Vivint offers professional installation. That’s a big deal for seniors, who need to know that their security system is set up properly, but who may not want to rig up a complex system themselves. Additionally, with Vivint, your secured home can also become fully automated with ease.
Systems: Vivint offers a range of different security packages and allows you to customize your system to suit your needs. Vivint systems include a touch screen control panel (standard in all installations), smart locks, cameras (such as doorbell cameras and interior/exterior security cameras), and sensors that detect broken glass and forced entry at doors and windows. All systems include Vivint’s SkyControl touch panel, Sky App, home security hardware that detects things like forced entry attempts, and 24/7 monitoring.
Installation: Vivint makes things easy on seniors by offering a professional in-home consultation followed by professional installation of the products and systems that you choose for your home. We appreciated how the consultation allowed us to better understand which devices would most benefit our living situation.
Management:Vivint offers powerful smart home security features. Using the touchpad control panel or Vivint’s app, Vivint customers can lock doors from a distance, arm and disarm their system, and even control some smart home features. From our phones, we could switch on lights, adjust the thermostat, and even lock or unlock our front door. We could also control our system using Google Home voice controls. Vivint is designed so you can control everything together from one single app, which makes it very convenient.
Monitoring:Vivint monitors its customers’ systems 24/7. Should an alarm be triggered, both you and the Vivint monitoring center will be notified. If you’re not around to respond, a Vivint agent will contact the appropriate emergency services to protect you and your home.
Extras:There are a lot of extras on offer at Vivint because the service focuses on custom solutions for its customers. The array of different upgrades and customizations is honestly staggering, including (but definitely not limited to) continuous video recording, smart doorbell cameras, Google Home devices, thermostats, water sensors, smoke detectors, and playback DVRs. This is why we’d definitely recommend chatting with a representative or scheduling an in-home consultation to discuss your options and build your customized system.
Cost:Vivint home security packages start at $29.99 per month and go up from there. Since Vivint builds a customized package out for each of its customers, you’ll want to contact Vivint to arrange a consultation and obtain a more exact quote.
Contract:Vivint utilizes a long contract commitment: you’ll be locked in for five years, which is a significantly longer term than most competitors use for starter contracts. Even after five years have gone by, and with some limited exceptions, you’ll need to provide Vivint with written notice 30 days ahead of time if you wish to cancel. However, Vivint also offers a no-contract option if all equipment is purchased upfront, though the cost of equipment can easily come close to $1000.
SimpliSafe’s products look as sleek and stylish as the newest iPad, but they’re tough, smart, and quick enough to get you help when you need it most. You’ll need to set up SimpliSafe yourself, but it won’t require you to play electrician or get a degree in computer science, as their systems are made to be installed with ease.
Systems: SimpliSafe allows customers to create their own customized security package. In addition, SimpliSafe offers some pre-made bundles. Those start with the Foundation, which includes a hub, entry sensor, motion sensor, and keypad. Pricier bundles include additional entry sensors, movement sensors, new sensors for things like water and smoke, sirens to alert you and scare off crooks, and keychain remote controls. You can also choose a pre-made bundle and then tweak it to be exactly what you want.
Installation: Like some of its modern wireless competitors, SimpliSafe expects you to set up your system yourself. It’s not the most difficult thing in the world to do, and the resulting system is among the sleekest and most effective on the market, but seniors may be reluctant to handle the setup on their own. Some systems allow you to add pro setup help for just $79, but in our experience, SimpliSafe systems are a breeze to install.
Management: SimpliSafe’s primary control device is its keypad, which has a screen. Of course, as with many modern smart security systems, you’ll also be given extensive power over your system through a corresponding mobile app.
Monitoring:Like their competitors, SimpliSafe offers around-the-clock monitoring, meaning professionals will keep tabs on your system 24/7.
Extras:Customization is a big part of SimpliSafe’s offerings. You can create a plan from scratch or add on individual devices to a pre-crafted bundle. Among other devices, you’ll be able to purchase security cameras, extra sensors, and other individual pieces of hardware by customizing your system on SimpliSafe’s website before buying. This makes SimpliSafe a great option for homes of any size.
Cost:Pre-built security bundles from SimpliSafe will run you $229 and up (though discounts are often available). The exact pricing on your bundle will depend on if and how you choose to customize it. The pricier pre-packaged bundles can cost upwards of $400, which is a bit high for DIY security companies, a price likely related to SimpliSafe’s very customer-friendly contract policies. Monitoring services cost $14.99 per month, which is significantly lower than what many competitors charge. SimpliSafe also offers a generous 60-day money-back guarantee.
Contract:The most unusual and impressive thing about SimpliSafe is its stance on contracts: it doesn’t have them. You can cancel or downgrade your service at any time, making it great for those who are on the fence about home security in general.
Frontpoint uses smart devices to blanket your home in protective security. It requires you to set things up yourself, but the installation process isn’t too taxing. There’s no drilling or wiring involved and no manual programming.
Systems: Frontpoint’s home security system is built around its Frontpoint Hub, a wireless smart security hub that can switch quickly between Wi-Fi and cellular networks to ensure that it always stays online. The hub connects wirelessly to sensors and to Frontpoint’s battery-powered keypad. They also offer a range of different-sized systems so you can choose the number and type of sensors that best suits your needs. There’s also the option to customize systems or build your own from scratch.
Installation:Frontpoint does not offer professional installation, but there isn’t too much of a need for it. Since everything here is wireless, you won’t have to be drilling into walls. Still, seniors may find themselves wishing for some help from consultants and installation pros when it comes time to put sensors at every egress point, and the Frontpoint customer service team will be happy to assist you.
Management:You can manage your Frontpoint security system from the battery-powered keypad, but the more powerful management options must be accessed through the app, as there’s no screen on the keypad. Through the Frontpoint smartphone app, you can keep track of any system notifications in addition to viewing video feeds from your cameras.
Monitoring: Like its competitors, Frontpoint doesn’t take any breaks. Your system will be monitored 24/7.
Extras: Frontpoint offers an extensive selection of add-ons and extras with which you can customize your security and smart home systems. The add-ons include multiple models of indoor and outdoor security cameras, smart locks, garage door controllers, motion sensors, intrusion sensors, smoke detectors, carbon monoxide sensors, and keyless remote controls.
Cost: Expect to pay upwards of $300 for your equipment and at least $34.99 per month for monitoring to get started under Frontpoint. However, do note that they frequently offer great deals on their site for as low as $69 so be sure to peruse their page before diving in. More extensive monitoring options can cost as much as $49.99, and additional pieces of equipment will, of course, be extra.
Contract: Frontpoint offers home security systems on a month-to-month basis and does not require a long term contract.
If you’re open to setting up your own system, then you’ll find an impressive array of features and superior customer service in Protect America. Protect America also makes its solutions available at highly competitive prices.
Systems:Protect America offers two main security bundles. The baseline bundle includes a standard control panel, motion sensors, entry sensors, yard and window signs, and monitoring. Customers can choose from three options here—Copper, Silver, and Platinum—which offer different numbers of sensors to suit different sizes of homes. Customers can also choose an upgraded system with more smart home and security features, which include fire detection, smart locks, an HD video service, garage door controls, and other individual options.
Installation:Protect America keeps costs down in part by requiring its customers to install their systems themselves. This could be a drawback for those who may prefer the professional installation offered by ADT and Vivint. In our experience, however, we found Protect America’s systems were quick and easy to install in our home.
Management: Like many competitors, Protect America offers a control panel as the standard way to manage your system. You can also use Protect America’s app and supported smart devices to control and command your security and smart home systems.
Monitoring:All Protect America home security plans include 24/7 monitoring services. In the event of an emergency, a response agent from Protect America will contact you and, if necessary, the appropriate authorities.
Extras: Protect America’s standard plan (which includes a control panel, sensors, and monitoring services) can be augmented with the addition of extras like wireless video cameras, smoke detectors, and smart home systems like Amazon’s Echo products and Google Home.
Cost: Protect America puts an emphasis on affordability. With security monitoring packages starting at just $19.99 per month, the savings over competitors like ADT are significant, not to mention that they don’t require long-term contracts. Protect America also offers a locked-in rate, so you don’t have to worry about sudden price hikes.
Contract: Protect America’s standard contract starts at 36 months (three years).
Brinks is a brand that has long been synonymous with security. Their home security offerings feature smart devices, and the company demonstrated a superb level of customer service.
Systems:Brinks offers four security packages. Their three smart security packages (Essential, Complete, and Ultimate) include a home hub control pad, motion sensors, door sensors, a yard sign, and stickers. Some packages also offer video or a video doorbell. In addition, Brinks offers Nest security, an innovative product that uses Google Assistant. Nest systems come with a Nest hub, Nest multi-purpose sensors, and Nest tags for arming and disarming the system.
Installation:Brinks gives its customers a choice. You’re welcome to install your new security system yourself (which may not be too tough, depending on your familiarity with wireless products and smart home systems), or you can pay Brinks to take care of it for you.
Management:Brinks systems can be managed through the app, which also allows you to receive security alerts. You can also use the system hub or one of Brink’s keychain devices.
Monitoring:Brinks will monitor your system 24/7.
Extras: Brinks offers a selection of base packages at set prices, but customers are welcome to customize and upgrade their systems with additional hardware and features. Extras include flood sensors, smart locks, cameras, and keypads, among others.
Cost:Brinks monitoring services start at $29 per month. That doesn’t include the startup cost of buying the equipment, which will run to at least $199, depending on which package you choose and any current promotions. Brinks also offers a 30-day satisfaction guarantee and a two-year product replacement warranty.
Contract: Brinks requires customers to sign a 36-month agreement, and customers are on the hook for the full amount of the contract, meaning you won’t be able to back out early. An exception is provided by their 30-day guarantee period. If you cancel within the first 30 days, you’ll be off the hook. However, Nest offers month-to-month payments with no long term contracts.
Why Do Seniors Need A Home Security System?
Investing in a home security system gives peace of mind to both seniors and their caregivers. The right home security system provides seniors with a sense of protection and helps to keep their homes safe. Many systems also include monitoring which makes it easy for seniors to get help any time day or night if there’s a problem.
Home security systems can also provide a deterrent to would-be burglars. The visibility of cameras, in particular, can often prevent home invasions. They also make it easier for seniors to manage their home security systems and see what is happening around their home.
Seniors can also use the system to check out legitimate visitors and makes sure they’re comfortable before opening the door. It all adds up to seniors feeling safer in their homes, which positively impacts their state of mind and quality of life.
What Types Of Home Security System Are There?
There are many types of home security systems, ranging from the most basic burglar alarms to full-featured systems that include motion detectors, security lights, and CCTV systems. Most systems at least include an alarm and some motion sensors. Some systems are monitored, while others are not. Some also include elements such as smart home control.
Home security systems come in two general categories: Hardwired or wireless. Hardwired systems, like those offered by ADT, are wired into the home power supply, which means they are harder to install and often require professional installation. This can push the price up.
However, they also mean you don’t have to worry about the system running out of power. Wireless systems, like those from SimpliSafe, work from batteries, which makes them easier to install. They’re suitable for most spaces, but you’ll want to make sure they have a backup power supply in the event of a power outage.
Because there are so many different types of systems available, we recommend shopping around and comparing several different systems before making a decision.
What To Look For In A Home Security System
For most seniors, ease of use is an absolute must. Some systems can be installed by a competent do-it-yourself kind of person, while others require professional installation. Whether you choose a DIY or professionally installed system, make sure it’s easy to use once it’s set up.
We also recommend choosing a system that has:
Movement sensors to pick up on movement in and around the home
Glass break sensors in case of break-ins through windows
Entryway sensors that let users know if a door or window is opened
Cameras that allow you to see who has entered your home
Some useful extras you might want to look for include:
Professional monitoring by the system provider so help is always at hand
Remote control so users can activate the system at the press of a button
Mobile alerts sent straight to a cell phone so users know immediately if there is a problem
Many home security systems include long term contracts. Although The Senior List is not usually keen on long term contracts, they’re often hard to avoid with home security systems. We recommend reviewing agreements with a fine-toothed comb. In the event that you wish to cancel your service, you’ll want to be sure that you don’t incur any exorbitant charges.
We also recommend making sure you can talk to a real person who will address your questions and concerns. Choosing a home security system is an important decision, and you want to be sure you’re getting the best system for your needs.
A company that makes it easy to talk to a real person, one who hears and addresses your concerns, is more likely to provide good customer service going forward. Behind every good home security system is a team of caregivers—both you and the professionals—who ensure that your home is protected.
Amie has been writing about senior care products and services for the last decade. She is particularly passionate about new technologies that help improve the quality of life for seniors and their families. Seeing her parents and grandparents age made Amie ask herself, “Would this be good enough for my loved ones?” In her spare time, Amie enjoys outdoor adventures and spontaneous road trips. Learn more about Amie here