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Access Control: Securing Senior Living, Retirement Communities & More

Access Control: Securing Senior Living, Retirement Communities & More
05/12/2017

Communities serving seniors with a variety of needs - from assisted living, to retirement and independent living situations - have a very unique set of requirements for security. Not only must they plan for the physical safety of their employees and residents, emergencies, and a mix of requirements on a single property, but they also have to account for integrating security into their business model to ensure everything runs smoothly. For these reasons, businesses that cater to senior living are among the most prolific new users of access control solutions.

A quarter of the U.S. population started hitting retirement age in the last ten years, and within the coming decade the number of retiree households will reach about 10 million. Owners and managers of senior living communities know this newfound need is driving up demand for housing that can transition seniors from independent and active retirement living all the way to assisted living.

What is access control and how does it serve senior communities? When securing senior and retirement communities, an access control system is useful for electronically monitoring and controlling access to a property without the use of old-fashioned locks and keys. Access control systems may be in the form of electronic credentials, biometric recognition, physical/electronic barriers,or a mix.

Credentials for gaining access may take the form of simple keyfobs, credit card style access devices, mobile phone recognition, facial recognition, fingerprints, PIN numbers, and a host of emerging technologies. Administrators of the system can electronically add or remove entry privileges, for employees, residents, guests or others, through simple software.

Putting such technologies in place means managers can handle unusual situations and emergencies with a unique set of parameters that can only be efficiently managed through an access control system.

Why access control for seniors, retirement homes and assisted living? Whether a new access control system is needed for a large, government-run assisted living facility, or a small 12 bedroom nursing home, certain basic elements are required to ensure residents, employees, owners, managers and visitors are protected, and accounted for. The very nature of a care facility exposes myriad possibilities for abuse, loss and litigation. Evidence of proper care, may on occasion, need to be proven in a court of law and both losses and litigation may be avoided through prudent application of proper controls. Access control is just such a tool to proactively prevent abuse and provide an audit trail of responsible care.

Security is #1 for New Residents and their Families The list of needs and desires for these communities vary, but safety and security remains at the top of the list. Access control, when implemented properly, protects not only the resident but also staff, owners, managers, family members and more. Safety and security is highest on the “must have” list for residents.

As a primary measure of security, residents and families also can take comfort in knowing that credentials cannot be easily duplicated; in fact it is a near impossibility. New keys must be ordered through a manufacturer and other methods of entry, such as biometrics, cannot be replicated.

24/7 Customizable Control of varying areas An access control system by Keri Systems, is a 24/7 working security system, designed to provide a constant audit trail and specific access privileges. Rooms can be accessed with a standard hotel-type access device, but a Keri System has the ability to selectively grant access; in multiples, in groups, by authority, by shift, and by many other customizable parameters.

Senior living facilities are particularly unique in that they often serve the needs of a very diverse population. Some function as high-end, luxury apartment complexes, while others operate more like a medical facility. One resident may want access to the gym and indoor pool, while an employee on the other side of the property may be concerned with securing a healthcare facility and pharmacy. Another may be laundering and distributing linens or handling hazardous materials.

Whatever Locks and readers are put into service, need to be able to handle every type of application. The old standard of traditional locks and keys no longer fits the complex usage requirements

Protection against Litigation While families (and owners) obviously want their loved ones protected against theft, abuse and more, access control is also pertinent for owners and managers, who need to be vigilant against litigation and inappropriate facility access. Access systems should also protect record storage, maintenance departments, hazardous areas, parking and any region of a property requiring timed, selective access.

Aside from physical safety and asset protection, one of the biggest threats to facility owners are nuisance lawsuits, which claim poor care, theft and more. Often times, simple reports offering visitor records, resident activity and history of access can stop claims before they have a chance to materialize. Systems with sophisticated features can even ensure residents are moving according to their normal schedule. Changes to normal schedule can indicate a potential problem, and administrators can immediately send assistance.

Cost Savings In shared living and community situations, costs trickle down. Facilities can be more competitive if they employ proactive security and avoid the most common problems before they start. Unnecessary re-keying of doors, tardy and chronically problemed employees, late payments, damage from theft, inefficiencies and more can all be controlled with access control.

Access Control Systems are constantly adapting, through updates, changes and more, but developers also take into consideration compatibility with existing systems. Newly updated or installed systems should meet the needs for current security and safety issues while also leaving enough room and flexibility to accommodate affordable growth and change as needed.

Cost savings may also come in the form of customized, access control solutions. Many times, the benefits present themselves by way of flexible interfacing to existing equipment. Intuitive new software and hardware can frequently be designed to work with existing equipment providing economies that originally didn’t exist.

Keri Systems products are also designed to integrate with other applications. If a facility already has existing infrastructure, Keri Access Control System can usually interface, so not everything needs to be replaced. Most updates can even be handled with little to no door downtime.

Don’t Forget the Software The software you choose to manage your access control hardware platforms must be time-tested, proven to perform, scalable for your environment; whether that be a few doors at one location, to hundreds or thousands of doors across multiple sites. Keri Systems’ Doors.NET software, is designed to be easily learned and used, and may be customized to operators’ preferences. Doors.NET has options for mobile control and even offers a scaled-down visual graphical interface to make training and use easier for operators.

Software must be easy to implement, fast and allow operators to manage an unlimited number of sites concurrently. Whether an operator is quickly securing the premises in case of an emergency, generating reports, or managing human resources, the integrated software is the glue that helps everything work seamlessly together.

The Best integrated Solutions for Access Control in Retirement Facilities, Independent Living, Assisted living and other Senior Residences Making a commitment to improving the safety and security of senior living facilities is an investment that pays for itself quickly and monetarily, by making office jobs more efficient, making a residence more appealing to customers and employees, and more. For new facilities and those needing to upgrade, modern, integrated access control is truly the only way to guarantee multi-faceted protection and surveillance when and where you need it.

Keri Systems offers one of the best and most flexible access control solutions for Retirement homes, senior living and assisted living facilities. Among its many standout features, most impressive is the flexibility and the ability to customize a solution for a facility that is built around its unique needs.

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