Many older Americans worry about crime and watching the news probably doesn’t help. And although seniors are less likely to be the victims of criminal activities than are their children or grandchildren, their crime-related injuries are usually more serious. As a concerned party worrying about how to keep aging in place loved ones safe can certainly keep you awake at night. Here are some tips for keeping the seniors in your life safe so that you will have one less thing to worry about.
Why Criminals Prey on Seniors
Roughly 27% of all elderly Americans live alone and many choose to stay in the same older neighborhoods where they’ve lived for years. Seniors oftentimes make easy targets for criminals when they are socially isolated, less mobile and not as strong as younger victims.
Elders with dementia, a chronic illness or disability are at even higher risk. Sadly, a high percentage of crimes committed against seniors are perpetrated by their own family members.
Crime Statistics and the Elderly
Based on US Department of Justice (DOJ) statistics these are the most common crimes that target the elderly:
- Elder abuse
- Financial fraud
- Identity theft
- Home burglary
- Pickpocketing or purse snatching
How to Protect Your Senior
As a concerned loved one here are some reliable ways to keep your senior from becoming another crime statistic:
Practice home security
Make sure that your loved one’s doors and windows have strong locks. If they don’t already have a good home alarm system, consider investing in one. Help them compile a list of expensive items in the home and keep those in a secure place.
Encourage your loved one to never open the door for strangers and to meet their neighbors. If available, joining a neighborhood watch program is also wise.
Teach street smarts
Whenever your loved one goes out remind them to stay alert, avoid unfamiliar areas and to walk with a friend, if possible. When carrying a purse, it needs to be held close to the body with the strap securely around the chest and shoulder.
If they still drive, remind your senior to keep their doors locked and windows up at-all-times and to only park in well-lit areas at night. If confronted by a robber, it’s best not to resist and to hand over their cash promptly.
Seniors are often targeted for frauds related to insurance, home repairs, telephone solicitations or internet scams. Here’s how to help your loved one avoid fraudsters:
- Never give out personal information or credit card numbers over the phone unless they made the call.
- Don’t be afraid to hang up on telephone salespeople- it’s not impolite, just smart.
- Don’t take out money from a bank account if a stranger asks them to.
- If a deal sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
- Be overly cautious about hiring repair people that go door to door. Ask your loved one to check with you first before agreeing to any home repairs.
Protect their money
Other money related security measures that seniors can take are getting their Social Security and pension checks directly deposited, not carrying a lot of cash and securing their wallet or billfold in an inside clothing pocket.
Beware of elder abuse
Regrettably, elder abuse is frequently committed by someone the victim knows. Far too many elder abuse cases go unreported because of fear and intimidation tactics.
Here’s how to protect your loved one from elder abuse:
- Encourage them to tell you if someone is abusing them. That way you can both report it to the authorities.
- Report the incident to your local State Adult Protective Services office.
- Promptly get your loved one the medical attention they need.
- Hire an attorney if legal action- like an Order of Protection- is needed.
An Extended Family in Your Loved One’s Home
Trying to keep an aging loved one safe when you live far away can be difficult. When you need assistance contact First In Care. As a fully licensed and insured home care agency our compassionate team stands ready to serve as an extended family in your senior’s home so they can remain safe and comfortable right where they want to be. For your added security all our highly skilled caregivers are thoroughly screened in advance.
First In Care team members also undergo in-depth training and are constantly monitored by our Director of Nursing. To learn more about our family trusted home care services now, or to schedule a FREE consultation for a senior in Manatee County, FL, today, please visit us at: www.firstincare.com!