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Deadbolt Locks on Doors: Safety or Liability for Seniors?

Senior Home Safety in Sharon MA

Sometimes it can seem like a great option to consider installing keyed deadbolt locks on the doors, especially for an elderly family member who has a tendency to wander. Some people who have been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s or other forms of dementia may be at an increased risk of wandering off.

Senior Home Safety in Sharon MA

Senior Home Safety in Sharon MA

This might have happened in the past. The elderly person may have gotten up in the evening, middle of the night, or sometime in the late morning when no one was around or paying attention. They may have walked outside, thinking it was a completely different time of the year, time of the day, or other situation. They may have walked down the street before they started to come to their senses, then tried to turn around and got lost.

The situation can play out far more frequently than many people realize. When it happens once, the knee-jerk reaction is to do whatever is necessary to avoid a repeat. After all, during the winter months, it can be life-threatening very quickly, especially in extremely cold climates.

Locking the door with regular deadbolts might seem like the first thing to do, but all the senior has to do is turn the tab in their fingers, open the door, and be gone once again. So, installing keyed deadbolts (having to use a key to open it from either side of the door) seems like a reasonable solution.

However, there could be some serious risks in this situation as well.

Are the risks the same as a senior wandering off, getting lost, and being exposed to potentially life-threatening temperatures? That all depends on the situation.

The main safety hazard for any senior in this type of situation has to do with potential fires or needing to exit the house or other building as quickly as possible in an emergency.

What happens in the event the senior is unable to open the door and there’s smoke in the house? They may not have the wherewithal, physical strength, or dexterity to break glass, open the door from the outside, or climb through a window.

In these situations, the simple solution isn’t always the best one. It may seem reasonable to install a keyed deadbolt, but that may lead to a worse situation in the future.

What’s the solution?

If the senior lives alone, relying on home care support is a good option. Installing alarms, motion sensors, and other technological devices may also be beneficial.

The most important thing is safety for the senior and in that case, keyed deadbolts may not be the right solution.

If you or an aging loved one are considering home care to improve senior home safety in Sharon, MA, please contact the caring staff at Care Resolutions. Helping Hands, Happy Hearts. Specializing in Quality Care in Eastern Massachusetts. Call Us! (508) 906-5572.

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Erica Tomasello

Erica Tomasello, has a background in Education and Clinical Psychology. She has worked with her mother for years, developing Care Resolutions into a premiere agency. Erica, and in turn, the agency's staff, continue to expand their knowledge with the ever growing development of understanding the aging process and geriatric disease. We are a member with Home Care Association of America and NFIB. We are also affiliated with NASW, National Association of Professional and Executive Women, Alzheimer's Partnership, Alzheimer's Association of Mass, MA Council for Home Care Aides.

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