Retirement Community Security Measures to Look for Before Moving
The health and safety of residents, team members, guests and visitors is of utmost importance to every retirement community, but security varies by community and depends on a number of factors, such as location, level of support (assisted living vs memory care) and management. Level of care is often one of the biggest factors in retirement community security, for example, with higher security measures in place for communities offering dementia care. In these cases, security can encompass both physical security, such as keeping out burglars, and health security that ensures residents are safe in an emergency, such as an accident or fall.
Georgia Retirement Community Security Checklist
When shopping for a Georgia retirement community, most people focus on amenities, accommodations, costs and care. While these things are important when considering a move to a retirement community, it is also important to ask about security.
The level of security you desire depends largely on your needs or the needs of your family member. Those with memory impairments require higher levels of security, while independent individuals may need less. Developing a checklist of each retirement community’s security measures can help you find the right community for you or your family member.
There are several security measures you should look for in any retirement community, regardless of whether you need independent living, assisted living or memory care. Some of these security measures include:
- 24-hour security monitoring system or staff
- 24-hour support and health monitoring
- Communication protocols
- Check-in protocols
- Exit door locks
- Video surveillance
- Front desk reception
- Security lighting
- Team member vetting
- Team member training
Let’s talk a little bit more about each of these security precautions and how they can help keep community residents safe.
Security risks happen at all times of day and night. Having a 24-hour security monitoring system, or security staff that are always on duty can reduce your risk.
24-Hour Support and Health Monitoring
A 24-hour support and health monitoring team provides a sense of security when it comes to health and well-being. This is important for individuals with memory impairments, as it’s easy for them to become confused. Health monitoring is also essential for assisted living residents, as they may have an accident while performing a difficult task and need assistance.
It is important to know how a retirement community will communicate with residents and family members about any safety issues in the community at large, and the security measures the retirement community has in place to address those issues. Be sure to ask what the protocol is during severe weather, for example. Prospective residents and family members should learn whether to expect updates about safety risks via phone calls, text messaging or emails.
This is one security measure that is often a personal preference. In many cases, residents may not want the community to send out notifications on their behalf, preferring to send updates themselves. This is more common in assisted living versus memory care.
Check In Procedures
Some retirement communities have a check-in process for guests and involve providing a visitor’s badge. Other communities might be more open or only require a guest sign in on a clipboard.
Exit Door Locks
Determine if exterior doors remain locked 24 hours a day or just at night. Find out if residents need to type in a passcode to unlock the doors. Locked doors provide a level of security, especially for residents with dementia such as Alzheimer’s disease. Other, more independent residents might prefer not to have to punch in a passcode.
Ask the retirement community if they use video cameras to improve security. Determine the locations of cameras to ensure proper monitoring of the parking lot, entrances, hallways, public spaces and medication rooms.
Again, this security measure is a matter of personal preference. Many residents feel more secure with video surveillance. Others want a greater measure of privacy.
Front Desk Reception
The receptionist is the retirement community’s first line of defense when it comes to the safety and security of the people who live there. The receptionist greets guests, identifies visitors and asks important questions about the reason for their visit. The front desk person may record the names of visitors, jot down the purpose of their visit and note the time the visitors arrived on and left the premises. During these duties, receptionists can spot behaviors that may indicate a problem.
Look for ample lighting of all outdoor areas and entries. Bright lights at entryways deter criminals and decrease the presence of unwanted animals near doorways. Security lights should be strategically placed to offer maximum coverage outside without causing unwanted light indoors.
Team Member Vetting
Quality care and high security begin with an exceptional staff. Find out how the retirement community checks the backgrounds of its team members. The best communities will have a thorough vetting process that includes references and experience review.
Team Member Training
Team member training can encompass many different elements, including health security training to help with dementia residents and security monitoring practices.
For example, the right training helps team members recognize potential issues during interactions with guests and family members, for example, but still give residents freedom of movement. Staff members learn how to interact with guests or visitors who seem lost or out of place. They might say something like, “Hi, I’m Mary, a housekeeper. May I ask who you’re here to visit?” This type of greeting and question help team members remain friendly and helpful while ensuring residents are safe.
What You Need to Know About Retirement Community Security
Finding the right level of security should be based on your personal situation and preferences. While the right retirement community safety process can increase residents’ well-being, unnecessarily high security can bring additional stress and possibly even extra fees. With a little research, prospective residents can find a retirement community that has the right balance of security and freedom.
At, Heritage of Brookstone, we strive to strike the right balance between safety and independence for all our residents. Here, you are empowered to live life the way you want, with the added assurance of safety and assistance.
Our assisted living and memory care community in Kennesaw, GA, will ensure you always feel safe and secure in terms of both physical security and health support. Contact us for more information or download our free Senior Living Resource Guide.