When it comes to staying safe, senior citizens have special concerns.
Although research has shown that the risk of being a victim of a physical assault crime decreases as you age, the risk of other kinds of crime continues and even intensifies.
Senior citizens are just as likely as the rest of the population to have their homes broken into, but they are at higher risk for financial crimes. To criminals, they appear more vulnerable and defenseless. And since the elderly are often well-off financially, they are a target for crimes involving money scams.
Further, the elderly grew up during decades when it was proper to be polite and trusting. This makes them less likely to be rude during a phone conversation or face-to-face meeting with a con artist. The con artist will keep pushing, and the elderly victim may just ‘give in.’
Financial crimes are devastating for anyone, but especially so for senior citizens. They not only feel afraid, but may begin to question their own ability to handle their own affairs. For an aging person already trying to hold on to independence as long as possible, this can be emotionally terrifying.
If you are a senior citizen, or have a loved one who is elderly, there are some steps you can take to keep yourself or your loved one protected. You don’t have to wait for crime to happen to you: be proactive and make sure you stay safe.
Secure your home.
A home alarm system is a great deterrent to would-be burglars. Motion detectors, automatic lights, and a security system with 24-hour monitoring will significantly decrease the likelihood of a home invasion.
For even more peace of mind, your monitoring service can respond to medical emergencies as well. And you may even qualify for a senior citizen discount.
Here is a check list of home safety tips for senior citizens:
• Check the locks on all doors and windows to make sure they are secure.
• Trim tall bushes that are up close to the house to eliminate hiding places.
• Be sure your house number is painted brightly so emergency help can find you quickly, should you need them.
• Don’t hide keys under mats or pots. Instead, ask a trusted neighbor to keep your extra key.
• Don’t keep extra cash in your house. It is better to keep it in the bank or in a safe deposit box.
• Post security signs around your house to let the burglars know you are protected.
Be smart about financial scams
Senior citizens are susceptible to con artists at the door or over the phone. These con artists know that the elderly are interested in products promising anti-cancer benefits or improved memory. Older adults are also less likely to report fraud, because they don’t know who to call to report.
Here are some tips to stay safe:
• Never allow any unexpected visitor into your home.
• Install peepholes in your doors.
• Do not give out identifying information over the phone such as social security numbers and account numbers.
• Do not do business with door-to-door salespeople of any kind.
• Know who your neighbors are and try to join a neighborhood watch for added security.
• Never click on a link to a financial institution in an email. Instead, manually type the URL into the address bar.
Stay safe away from home
To reduce the risk of being robbed while away from home, follow these safety precautions:
• Never carry more cash than you need.
• Don’t carry all your credit cards with you.
• Keep your bag close to your body.
• Avoid walking in deserted or dark areas.
• Lock your car doors while traveling in areas where you will be stopping frequently.
• Also lock your car doors while you are away from your car.
• Consider installing an alarm system in your car. This may qualify you for a discount on your auto insurance.
You don’t have to wait for crime to come to you. By being pro-active and educating yourself, you can outsmart the criminals and keep yourself and those you love safe.