IN YOUR PRIME: How to stay safe when you live alone

Investing in a smart security system is one of the things seniors living alone can do to protect themselves. SHUTTERSTOCK

Credit: Shutterstock

Combined ShapeCaption
Investing in a smart security system is one of the things seniors living alone can do to protect themselves. SHUTTERSTOCK

Credit: Shutterstock

The number of households with a single person living alone has increased considerably over the last half-century-plus. According to a recent report from the U.S. Census Bureau, there were 37 million one-person households in 2021, representing 28 percent of all households across the country. This compares to 13 percent in 1960. Over the past decade, the number of single Americans increased by 4 million. Statistics Canada says 13 percent of the Canadian population is comprised of single people living alone.

Various factors have contributed to the rise in the number of single people living alone. For example, delaying marriage is a growing trend. Today, the median age to get married for men is 30.4 years and 28.6 for women. In addition, more seniors are living longer, and may be outliving spouses. Some people are simply opting not to get married, as neither men nor women are expected nor required to have a partner according to current societal norms.

With so many people living alone, a refresher course in solo safety could be in order. Here are some tips for single living.

Adopt a dog. The general consensus is a dog is not only a companion but a safety precaution. Dogs are in tune to sounds and disturbances, which can alert owners if and when things are awry at home. Dogs, particularly those who bark when someone is at the door, are built-in alarm systems. Criminals may be less likely to target a home where a dog is present, even if the dog isnÕt perceived to be aggressive.

Get to know your neighbors. Singletons should make it a point to become familiar with their neighbors. This way they can learn schedules and alert one another if something seems out of sorts. A good neighbor will check in on another person if he or she hasn’t seen that person around in some time, which could help in the event of an injury or illness.

Invest in smart technology. Smart home technology can run the gamut from motion-activated cameras to remote-operated lights and thermostats. This enables the home to be safe and secure, and even appear occupied when a person isn’t home.

Don’t advertise that you’re single. Those who live alone should not make a point of advertising it. For example, list Smith Residence on a lobby mailbox in an apartment complex rather than a single name. Avoid telling too many people you’re single, as word can get around and it is impossible to know who will find out. That includes spreading word online through social media.

Upgrade locks and doors. Invest in more complex locks and deadbolts as well as security doors to add an extra layer of security to a home. Such locks are only effective when inhabitants remember to lock their doors at night and when leaving their home.

Develop an emergency exit plan. No one is coming to a person’s aid when he or she lives alone. That means a singleton must develop and rehearse emergency exit protocols that involve getting out of the home safely. In addition, one should pack emergency supplies and a go-bag in case a fast exit is necessary.

About the Author