People who live far from their parents and other senior family members know that distance often magnifies worry. If a loved one prefers to age in place but doesn’t want in-home care visits, it can be a challenge to make sure he or she stays safe. A monitored home security system can provide peace of mind for everyone and can be a good compromise between independent seniors and concerned relatives — especially because today’s security systems offer a number of options custom-tailored for independent senior life.
Austin, TX-based Protect America offers home security packages and home monitoring service along with add-on monitored services that include wearable medical panic buttons, carbon monoxide detection, smoke detection, and freezing temperature and flood monitoring in case of heating failure.
The add-on service most relevant to seniors and their families is the medical panic button. Available in watch and pendant styles, the button is big, red, and easy to see against the all-white pendant and cord. It’s designed to be water-resistant and shock-resistant as well. Pressing the button alerts Protect America’s monitoring center, which will then have monitors call the contacts listed on the account to either summon help or cancel the alarm. If the monitors don’t get a response they will contact the local 911 service.
Another helpful add-on for families of seniors is the vehicle GPS tracker, which is compatible with most cars and trucks made after 1996. Once installed, users can monitor a car’s location, get alerts if the car is speeding, and be notified if the car goes into an area marked “off limits” by the user, such as the city limits or busy freeways.
Cost for Protect America’s base home security package with landline monitoring is $20 per month, which is very competitive. The add-on medical panic button is an easy way to summon help in case of a fall or sudden illness, and the vehicle GPS tracker can prevent the need to issue a Silver Alert if a driver gets lost. Batteries included with the medical panic button last up to 6 years.
Style-conscious seniors may balk at wearing the medical panic pendant, which is designed for function and is obviously a safety device. Protect America says BMWs and some other European imports don’t have the port necessary to plug in the GPS vehicle tracking device.
Security packages and add-on services are part of a 3-year contract that auto-renews on a month-to-month basis after the 3-year term is complete. To prevent auto-renewal, the customer must give written notice at least 30 days before the contract term ends.
Protect America does not charge an initial setup or equipment fee for its home security packages. Landline monitoring for its basic package, which includes 3 door and window sensors, a motion detector, and an alarm panel, is $19.99 per month, with add-on services costing extra.
Landline monitoring for the largest package, with 14 door and window sensors, a motion detector, and a control panel, begins at $42.99 per month.
Broadband and cellular monitoring come with interactive smartphone and computer services for a higher monthly rate.
Families of seniors who spend time alone and those who are concerned about their relative’s mobility, memory, or driving skills. Customers who understand the contract and who feel comfortable navigating the setup and optional smartphone and computer monitoring tools will get the most out of these services.