There are many perks to living on your own. You can dance around the living room to your favorite oldies. All the dirty dishes in the sink are yours and yours alone — washing them can wait.
Perhaps best of all, nobody will be upset if you decide to spend Saturday binging your favorite show. But that comes at its own cost. You’re not alone if you’ve noticed that your streaming bills have been creeping up. Tap or click here for some secrets to rein in your costs.
But there’s another side to the solo life. Fear and doubt can creep in when you’re on your own. You might read about break-ins or theft on social media or worry about local crime. Remember: Just because you live alone doesn’t mean you don’t need to feel safe.
1. Get to know your neighbors
Have you met your neighbors? While staying cocooned in your own world is easy, getting to know your neighbors can be one of the best ways to feel more secure when you live alone. Introduce yourself. Exchange phone numbers if you feel comfortable with them. You’ll feel better knowing the neighborhood has your back.
A great way to get to know the locals is to join a buy nothing group. This is where neighbors pass around items they no longer use. Let’s say you’re upgrading your TV and need to get rid of the old one. Rather than go through the trouble of selling it, just ask if anyone nearby would like to come and get it.
2. Install a smart security system
Home security technology has come a long way since the days of elaborate hard-wired systems with lengthy, expensive contracts. You can now customize a system for your home that’s comprehensive, affordable and takes advantage of the latest tech.
Our sponsor, SimpliSafe, is an award-winning home security system, so you know it’s engineered with the latest technology you want to keep your family safe. But what really sets SimpliSafe apart is its people: Highly trained security experts who are always there for you when you need them most.
3. Conduct a security check of your home
Check that all your door and window locks function properly and that you have deadbolts on every outside door. Replace any burned-out light bulbs around the exterior. Try to think like a burglar. Where would you break in if you had to? What can you do to deter it?
Consider growing thorny plants below easily accessible windows, putting locks on your gates, and installing metal security doors in place of your old screen doors.
Install sensors at your windows, doors and outbuildings such as garages. And don’t forget about your house interior. Have a gun cabinet? Put an entry sensor on the door, so you know when someone opens it.
4. Set up the SOS emergency feature on your phone
Your phone is always with you and can be a lifeline in an emergency. Be prepared by activating your phone’s emergency SOS feature. It will call emergency services and send notifications and updates to your chosen personal emergency contacts when triggered.
5. Make it look like you’re home, even when you’re not
Whether you’re at work for the day or off on a week-long vacation, there are ways to make it look like your home is occupied even though it’s empty. Set up mechanical or smart-home timers to turn lights and a stereo on and off.
If you’re leaving for a while, arrange for a neighbor or friend to pick up your mail, check on your house, and even take out your trash and recycling bins. If you’re leaving on a trip with your car, see if someone you know can park a spare vehicle in the driveway while you’re away.
Have an Echo speaker? Alexa Guard is like a pair of ears you leave at home. Your Echo device will listen for glass breaking, smoke alarms or carbon monoxide alarms. You’ll get an alert on your phone if these sounds are detected.
Alexa Guard can also automatically turn any connected smart lights on and off to make it look like you’re home. Handy!
6. Think before you post online
We tend to want to post every exciting moment in our lives on social media, but it might not be just your friends who are watching your adventures. If you maintain a public profile, anyone can see you’re lounging on the beach in Hawaii and not at home.
Perhaps the simplest solution is not to post personal information on social media, including your vacation schedule. You can wait until you get back to share a fun slideshow of your journey.
If you’re determined to share in real time, one way to combat this concern is to restrict your accounts to trusted friends and family.
7. Call the authorities if needed
Listen to your instincts. If you see a suspicious person, call it in. If you feel threatened, dial 911. Even if you’re unsure if the situation qualifies as an emergency, call your local police department’s non-emergency number (if one is available) for guidance. Keep this number in your phone contacts so it’s ready when needed.
Whether you’re moving out on your own for the first time, an empty-nester, or just getting set up in a new place, take steps to feel comfortable in your house or apartment. You might be living alone, but your support network can be a mix of family, friends and neighbors.
Called emergency services by mistake? Don’t worry; it happens. Tap or click here to avoid accidentally calling 911.
Bonus for primary caregivers
While you can’t always be there, you can take comfort that your loved ones have safeguards in place in case something goes wrong.
Amazon’s Alexa Together service lets send you daily check-in alerts or dispatch emergency services if a fall is detected. And now, there are two new features available to help you care for your loved ones.
This content was originally published here.