Senior Safety Guide
Children are not the only ones who need to take care and use extra caution in their daily lives. Seniors are a segment of our population that need to take extra safety precautions. There are many who prey on innocent seniors because they believe they are an easy target. Don't let yourself be targeted - Learn how to protect yourself!
We've listed many tips to help you get more informed and help keep safe. Many of these safety tips are great to know, even if you're not a senior. Knowing and practicing these tips will give you the knowledge of power, and possibly help keep you out of harm's way. Please let us know if there are any other important tips that we should highlight here :-). We want to help keep our seniors safe!
Read The Forgotten One!
Safety at Home
- Make sure you lock your doors when you're home, even during the daytime. Crime doesn't only occur at night or during the day when thieves think you're away.
- Make sure you get a good deadbolt lock for all your exterior doors. This provides your doors with an extra barrier of protection.
- All windows should have locks and be sure to use them! And don't rely on the lock that your sliding glass doors came with. The best lock for sliding glass doors is a drilled hole at the top that goes through both frames. As an added security measure, place a piece of wood in the inside track of the sliding glass door frame to prevent anyone from pushing the door open.
- If you don't have a peephole in your exterior doors, you should have those installed. Never open your door to anyone you don't know.
- Never let salespeople or repairmen inside your home, (or even open your door - they can push their way inside) ,without verifying their identity first. Ask to see their badges, and make a quick call to their company to be sure.
- If you go away on vacation, set up timers to make your lights and appliances go on at different times. A lived-in house is less likely to be targeted (although it doesn't mean it cannot be broken into).
- If living alone, you shouldn't publicize it. Single seniors are thought of to be easier targets by some.
- Have a close friend or neighbor check in with you once a day, and vice versa. You can both be a support to each other, and it's good to know that one of you will be there for the other in case of any emergencies. Get to know your neighbors and let them know when/if you go away. This way if they notice any suspicious activity, they'll be able to report it.
- Get a safety deposit box at the bank to keep all your valuables in. If your house is robbed, your jewelry, bonds, important papers, etc. will be safe.
- Arrange for direct deposit of monthly checks.
- Don't leave extra keys hidden under your doormat, in your mailbox, or under a rock. Many thieves are familiar with these hiding places and will find your key, leaving your house open to be robbed.
- Before you sign a check over to someone, verify that the deal is indeed legitimate.
- If you believe you've been conned, contact your local police department immediately. Then report your situation to the National Fraud Information Center. They will give you advice and report your situation to law enforcement agencies. Their website also contains informative tips for seniors.
- If someone calls to tell you that you've won something, don't automatically provide any personal information if asked. Get their name, organization's name, phone number, and any other pertinent information, and verify it yourself.
- If a salesperson keeps calling and bothers you for any personal information, tell them that you're not interested, and to take you off their list - then hang up. DO NOT give out any bank account numbers or any other personal information. If they keep calling after you've asked them to remove you from their list, you can report them.
- If someone calls you and asks for your name, DO NOT give it! If they called YOU, they should know who they're speaking to!
- An added safety measure is to get a Caller-ID box to see who's calling before you pick up the phone. This way, if it's a phone number of someone you don't know, you don't have to answer it.
- If you have an answering machine, do not leave a message that makes it sound like you are the only one living in your home. Say something like, "Sorry, we cannot get to the phone right now...". If possible, leave the original recorded message that came with the machine.
- Write to the Direct Marketing Association's Mail Preference Service (MPS) and ask to have your name removed from mailing lists:
Mail Preference Service
Direct Marketing Association
P.O. Box 9008
Farmingdale, NY 11735-9008
Safety away from Home
- Unless you're going to a party, or other affair where there are many other people that you know, plan on wearing flat shoes or sneakers. Good balance is good to have in any situation.
- Before you leave your home, make sure you let a neighbor, friend, or family member know where you are going to be and when you are due home.
- Make sure you lock your doors when you leave your home; even during a short trip to a neighbor's house.
- Make sure not to carry any more cash than you need.
- If you are driving your own car, be sure to keep the doors locked, and windows up at all times. As an added safety measure, ask a friend to accompany you.
- Carry a cellular phone as an added safety measure (could come in handy, especially if your car breaks down or if you get lost).
- When you stop behind another car at a traffic light, make sure to leave enough room so you can safely pass around to the front.
- If you're stopped at a traffic light in a desolate area and get bumped from behind, do not get out of your car. Instead, stay inside, roll down your window just enough to ask someone to call the police, and exchange insurance information while you wait. This is a good time to use that cellular phone.
- Be sure to travel major routes and park only in well-lighted areas.
- When paying at the cashier while shopping, keep your purse close to you and your money well-hidden
- If someone tries to steal your purse, let it go. Your life is more important than any material object.
- When going back to your car in a parking lot, be sure to have your key ready to open the door. Then get in immediately and lock the doors.
- If you must use public transportation, be sure to sit near the driver.
- While walking, act as if you are secure of your surroundings.
- If you carry a purse, hold it in your arms with the opening facing you. Carrying it on your shoulder leaves you open to someone snatching it and dragging you down. A better option is to wear a waist pouch instead.
- Wallets should be carried in a front pocket. Back pockets are easier to pick.
- If you have a dog, walk it only in the daytime. Try and get a neighbor or a neighbor's responsible older child to walk it for you after dark.
- When arriving home in your car, be aware of the surroundings in front of and behind you. If you use a garage door opener, make sure to open it in enough time so you can drive in and immediately close it behind you.
- If a friend takes you home, ask him/her to wait until you are safely inside.
- Don't forget to lock your doors after you're safely inside your home :-).