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Dad Answers the Door for Anyone



"My father is quite elderly (late 80s) and he will open the door to just anyone. Generally, this is not a problem, because those coming to his home are expected and known to him. 

There are times, though, that strangers approach. They’re usually trying to sell siding, painting, or some other service. I’m just not so sure that Dad has the best judgement these days, and I fear that he may be taken advantage of.

I’m not really sure what to do. I cannot simply place trip wires around the perimeter of his property, now can I? I would love a few ideas on this topic."



How wonderful that you are trying to figure out ideas to maintain your father’s independence and protect him at the same time! 

It’s true that some aging individuals have diminished reasoning capabilities while others remain very sharp. However, society at large views the elderly as less physically able, and most are. This can make them potential targets to unsavory characters.

I believe the best approach is for you and your father to team up with a strategy. To do that you will need to approach him with a few ideas.

Let your father know that you’re experiencing anxiety about his safety. Assure him that it is interfering with your ability to sleep, work, or whatever the case may be. Parents are usually very interested in their child’s welfare. While he may dismiss your concerns as silly, I do believe he will at least hear you.

You can simply ask him not to answer the door if the person on the other side is not someone he knows. Install a peep hole if one does not exist. He may scoff at that suggestion, if he is curious or has little fear of strangers. After all, most of us do simply open the door, even if we should not.

The most practical suggestion is to ask him if he would be willing to look into external monitoring of his front door. Would he install a camera on his front porch that connects to a computer application? It’s quite commonplace these days, and can be set up to appear on his phone and your phone. While it’s not the trip wire you dream of installing, it will allow the two of you to see who is outside in advance of answering the door.

Of course, there is a nominal cost to the technology I’m recommending, but I believe it can provide some comfort for both of you. Therefore, it’s worth it. 

A very low-tech solution is to place a sign on the property warning visitors that the premises are under 24-hour video surveillance. It may encourage would-be predators to move along.

I agree with you that tightening up his response to strangers is smart. A few simple steps can provide increased comfort. I hope your father will heed your advice.