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Ian Parkin19/02/2022 11:22:09
1021 forum posts
239 photos

Advise/suggestions please

My mum at 86 with advancing dementure has recently has a fob pendant given her that calls for help if she falls or just needs help…the company that installed the system wants a key safe outside so they or the designated responder can get in.

she’s also starting soon to have carers coming in and the company also want the keysafe as they have different carers so don’t want to have keys..

To me its like leaving the key under the mat

Mum..she generally leaves the key in the lock on the inside so then the key wont work anyway.

I want to fit a electronic keypad to open the inner front door with a Yale type lock (rather than the mortice lock presently fitted) and leave the outer porch door unlocked.

so the inner door can be shut and always locked …but can be opened with a key always…not too sure mum could cope with a PIN number.

what have others done in this situation?

my sister says just have the keysafe..

John Haine19/02/2022 11:27:40
4673 forum posts
273 photos

Lots of National Trust cottages have the keysafe. Probably pretty secure but don't be tempted by an electronic one.

Ian Parkin19/02/2022 11:30:27
1021 forum posts
239 photos

John. National trust cottages don’t have all your possessions inside and an old lady generally.

what’s wrong with the electronic ones? I have had one for 20 years or so?

Mike Hurley19/02/2022 11:33:40
313 forum posts
87 photos

Similar situation with my mother-in-law some years back now. The keysafe is perfectly OK (assuming its a good quality one) and to be fair - considering how easy a yale lock (as you are considering fitting from your text) can be defeated in relation to a sturdy mortice job would seem much the better idea IMHO.

We never had any issues with the keysafe that was fitted and it certainly made life all-round bags easier for everyone. These situations are never easy to get right as there is no 'fits all' solution for each individual case - yuou just need to make a value judgment on best advice / evidence

Hope that helps & things work out OK


Andrew Tinsley19/02/2022 11:46:31
1630 forum posts

I had a keysafe fitted, never had any problems.


Journeyman19/02/2022 11:46:46
1159 forum posts
235 photos

Had a key-safe at Mum's for years with no problems. Good quality safe fitted securely and out of sight if possible. As for Yale type have used these euro locks by ABS a cut above the average Yale for security but assumes a modern door. Used with thumb-turn on the inside (as fire Brigade recommended) avoids key on inside.


noel shelley19/02/2022 11:54:21
1344 forum posts
21 photos

Had an almost identical problem with my mum, key safe and mortice lock - never a problem ! How does the electronic set up work if there is no power - topical ! Noel

Ian Parkin19/02/2022 12:03:42
1021 forum posts
239 photos

To me a keysafe can be removed in a second with a crowbar and then opened destructively in private then the villians have your door keys.

if carers are using it perhaps 2,3,4 times a day they don’t want to be struggling to access an out of sight keysafe..,

do we tell the insurance co that theres keys to the house left outside?

In sheffield we haven’t had a power cut in decades

keys would still work in the event of no power

Howard Lewis19/02/2022 12:16:59
6104 forum posts
14 photos

Have had more that one friend or neighbour, with a keysafe.

Only you and the carer, or other family members, would know the combination (Which you can set ) so any would be intruder would have to be lucky to find the correct combination, quickly, out of about 10,000, to gain unauthorised entry.

Mum can unlock the door from inside if she wishes, although that might be unwise, in case she forgets to relock.

At least, unlike a cylinder lock,with a Mortice lock, she can't lock herself outside (A neighbour with dementia, and a cylinder lock, did this regularly. Eventually, we got spare keys cut for us and his family, rather than keep drilling the lock on the garage door and hoping that the door to the house was unlocked )

Like others, have never heard of a keypad being defeated, or causing a problem..

Normal Yale cylinder locks can be defeated fairly easily, so a keysafe containing the key to a 5 lever mortice lock is more secure. .


mgnbuk19/02/2022 12:24:25
1188 forum posts
71 photos

Had a keysafe at the m-i-l's for years, with no problems.

Required for the twice a day carers to gain access & has been handy for first responders when she has triggered the fob after falls while we were away. The keysafe is in a porch next to the back door, but the key inside is for the front door.

More of an issue for us WRT to security is that she insists on leaving the front door ajar in summer, but frequently falls asleep in a chair during the day. Anyone could just walk in but, as she has memory problems, she cannot be reasoned with & won't change her behavior. So the keysafe is the least of our security concerns.

Nigel B.

gerry madden19/02/2022 12:29:25
252 forum posts
132 photos

+1 Keysafe.

Neil Wyatt19/02/2022 12:30:11
19033 forum posts
734 photos
80 articles

A keysafe is going to be as secure as a keypad on the door. They are used all over by lots of places and I'm sure you can get insurance approved ones.

It avoids upsetting your mum's routines as well.

Baz19/02/2022 12:39:16
724 forum posts
2 photos

Bloke from alarm company came round late last year to service house alarm and noticed the key safe. He reckoned they can be got off the wall in seconds and then taken somewhere and forced open at the thieves leisure. His advice was to epoxy the bolts in or use rawlbolts.

peak419/02/2022 13:13:10
1713 forum posts
183 photos

Ian, re keysafes don't get a "Master" one; there was one fitted at our new spot in Buxton, which took me a minute of so to open once I'd seen the relevant Youtube video.

The one I fitted at my Dad's seemed secure, and was insurance company approved, but I can't find it at the moment to check the make.
The only way to get it out of the wall, would have been to remove the bricks, as I used a couple of rawl anchors.

You used to be able to get mechanical number keypad locks, with a key override, such that they can be used with a conventional key as well; not sure if they are still available.

At my Dad's I used to keep copies of front and rear doors keys, as he was prone to either leaving the key in from the inside, or dropping the night latch.
Fortunately I got to know the very competent carers, and showed where I'd hidden the special screwdriver.
I'd put a sawcut across the end of the inner back door mortice lock key on my Dad's copy, and they knew how to engage the driver into the key from the outside. (it was only the kitchen door he left the key in, rather than the outer rear porch door, so the property remained secure.)

Living in Sheffield, I think I'd drop into Harrold's on Shalesmoor, and see what they have to offer, as I'm sure there will be newer products available now.

None of this helped when a paramedic locked the back door, and pulled the front one so hard that the front door closed even with the night latch dropped.
When he was released from hospital and dropped off outside by the taxi driver, he was then locked out and wandering around most confused; fortunately a neighbour found him and broke in.


Bill Phinn19/02/2022 13:46:11
753 forum posts
113 photos

I've had to enter quite a few properties in my area using keys stowed in key safes.

My experience tells me:

  • they are frequently badly sited and badly fitted.
  • they frequently show signs of having been tampered with.
  • the combination rollers can be sticky and/or very temperamental, meaning that even if you hit the right combination the safe won't open.
  • The occupant is in but has locked the door from the inside by some other means that cannot be overcome with the key.
  • The key is sometimes not in there because a previous visitor forgot to put the key back before they drove off. (Guilty myself of that one)

My conclusion is that if you live in a decent area a key safe is probably OK, and if the area is a high-crime one they won't need your key anyway in order to break in.

Robert Atkinson 219/02/2022 13:53:37
1208 forum posts
20 photos

You can get an electric release striker plate / box for either mortice or surface (Yale) locks.

Get a fail-locked one and connect to an electronic entry pad. Keys work as normal and pad releases the electrical.
As an added precaution when out a disable switch can be fitted. This prevents carers etc gaining access whenyou are out. If worried about leaving it off, a door operated switch with a spring or hinged toggle can be arranaged so you can turn it off (towards door) and door passed it but when you open thee door it is switched back on automatically. Fit to jamb just above head height.
If you are carefull with the geometry an ordinary toggle switch can be made to work. Or a magntic reed switch on the door, push button for disable and a relay can be arranged for an electrical solution of a disable that automatically resets.

Robert G8RPI.

duncan webster19/02/2022 14:16:34
3984 forum posts
65 photos

In similar vein, Currently I have a hardwired doorbell which rings in the house, and I've connected a pair of relay contacts across the push one of those wireless doorbells so it also rings in the workshop. SWMBO fancies one of these doorbell cameras so she can see on her phone who is at the door. Can I interface that with my existing setup? I can't be relied on to have mobile phone with me in the workshop, and anyway can it connect to 2 phones, mine and SWMBO's?

Stuart Smith 519/02/2022 14:19:13
278 forum posts
43 photos


I would do as you suggest and fit an electric release striker plate (one that keeps locked if the supply fails) with a keypad.

I think one of the reasons people have keysafes is that they are an easy and cheap solution, but not without potential problems. As you say it could be prised from the wall, but you can make this difficult if you attach with rawlbolts . The other problem is that someone can leave and forget to put the key back in the safe or even make a copy of the key.

You could fit a security camera system which can also be set to message you when someone enters and record activity.


Stuart Smith 519/02/2022 14:30:04
278 forum posts
43 photos


I have a Ring doorbell. You can install the app on more than one phone. It triggers when it detects movement (or activity as Ring call it) and also if someone presses the doorbell.

When I bought it I had problems with it because my internet was the old ADSL system and didn’t have a fast enough upload speed. I changed to fibre broadband and it works ok now.

The problem with it is the time lag between the doorbell detecting activity or someone pressing the button and the mobile phone ringing. When our postman delivers, it detects activity and rings my phone, but he has usually gone by then.

You can set the app with different sounds for activity or doorbell press (or none).

You can connect it to an old fashioned mains transformer powered doorbell and this will also keep the battery charged.


David Noble19/02/2022 16:12:57
320 forum posts
18 photos

This might work for you Ian. My mother in law had them fitted to front and rear doors. It allows the door to be locked on the inside but still opened with a key from a key safe.



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