As a senior there are many safety concerns you might have. In your home there are going to be concerns such as fire hazards, falls, slips, medical emergencies. Your body has changed, your abilities have changed, and you have a whole new set of challenges to face. Besides these however, there is yet another safety concern that all seniors should be aware of. Most seniors know to be careful of slips and falls, and have seen commercials for medical emergency call buttons, etc. However, how many seniors are more cautious about burglary and theft in their homes?
Seniors have become the target of many criminals. In the mind of a thief, a senior is the perfect target. They are slower to respond, have impaired hearing and vision, and usually have a collection of items of value, from antiques, to cash.
The truth is that many robberies take place in daylight hours, and could easily be prevented. So, as a senior, let’s talk about some of the things you can do to stay safe at home:
1. Never open your door automatically. Install and use a peephole. Just because it is the middle of the day, and the person knocked on the door does not mean it is safe to open. Make sure you know the person, or are expecting someone. If it is important they will come back or call.
2. Lock your doors and windows. The easiest way to deter a thief is make it harder to get in. So, install locks on all doors and windows, and use reinforcement for sliding glass doors and windows.
3. Vary your daily routine. If you are predictable, and always follow the same routine, someone could watch you and know that between 11 and 1 you go out for a walk, and visit the neighbors. It would be easy to break in.
4. Get others involved. This is not a problem unique to you, so use “Neighbor Watch” to keep an eye on your neighborhood. Communicate with your neighbors so that you can keep an eye out for one another.
5. Don’t leave notes on the door when going out. This is like a big sign that says, “I am not home, come in and take what you want.”
6. Try to make your home look occupied, even when it is not, for example, leave lights on when going out at night; use a timer to turn lights on and off when you are away for an extended period. Make sure your answering machine does not indicate that you live alone. Cancel deliveries such as newspapers and arrange for someone to pick up your mail, mow your lawn, or do any of the other things that need to be done to make it appear as though you are home.
7. Keep an inventory with serial numbers and photographs of re-saleable appliances, antiques and furniture. Leave copies in a safe place not in your home. This will make it easier to get your things back or be compensated for them.
8. Ask for proper identification from delivery persons or strangers. Also, safe guard your important information. For example, if a stranger asks to use your telephone, offer to place the call for him or her yourself. Then make sure they use a portable phone, and are not closed in a room near a computer, files, etc.
9. Never let a stranger into your home. And never indicate to someone you do not know personally that you will not be home at a certain time. Even a repair guy could take advantage of such knowledge.
10. If you are ever worried that someone may be in your home, call the police.