Whatever stage we’re at in life there are key concerns around safety; for ourselves, elderly and young family members, family and friends in general; anyone in our sphere of influence. Risks for harm cause inevitable unease.
There are seven common key dangers we can readily prepare for:
1. Safety At Home
Home is our sanctuary. We have a right to be safe there. But, in this day, there are many reasons why we may feel unsafe. Seniors are particularly vulnerable.
While a balance needs to be struck between feeling safe and unsafe, it’s wise to make ourselves visible for the authorities yet as invisible as we can to the dangerous minority.
Knowing our neighbours and having a safe house, with safe practices, is vital. You have a right to protect your ground.
2. Out and About
Circulating within our communities is a great freedom we take for granted.
Doing this safely is about minimising the risks by travelling with others, in daylight when we can, and within known areas. Lighting at night is important; stay in well-lit places. Lock car doors and keep valuables out of sight. And watch for bag snatchers.
Driving poses its own risks.
Many more people are killed or seriously injured on the roads than at home. Drive within your limits, avoid fatigue and alcohol, wear your seatbelt, and avoid heavy traffic and driving in poor weather.
3. Protecting Money
Money is a tool assisting us through life. Not surprisingly it’s the sort of thing that unscrupulous people want to help us with.
Using caution when removing money from banks, getting into habits of closely monitoring the status of our accounts, purses and wallets, and carrying less money around with us, is important.
4. Our Legal World
We can literally sign our lives away in the stroke of a pen.
Resist pressure to sign documents. Pressure to sign generally indicates that motives are not in our best interests. Have a lawyer or solicitor, or legal aid, look over documents before signing. Find out who your local Advocate is and contact them if you are concerned.
5. Risks of Neglect and Abuse
Anyone is susceptible to neglect and abuse, but especially the weak and vulnerable: the especially young; the disabled and impaired; women around stronger, untrustworthy men; and, seniors.
If we have the capacity to manage our lives—and nearly all of us do—there is no reason anyone, including family, should put pressure on us to make any decision.
Likewise, everybody deserves love. Neglect, particularly when family is around, is unconscionable. Neglect is reflected in basic needs remaining unmet.
Abuse and neglect should be reported to authorities.
6. Computer Technology
The advent of the Internet, Internet banking, and the prevalence of hacking and viruses all mean watching our computer security is essential. Using strong passwords, keeping them secret, and using secure connections and anti-virus software are keys.
E-mail is especially problematic. Bogus e-mails are everywhere these days. Whenever e-mails are received, and there is any suggestion of money, tread warily.
Equally, for singles, there are predators using the Internet wanting to strike up relationships. If we’ve never met them, seen them face-to-face, we should commit nothing.
7. Home Security
Design and maintenance are the key words.
Designing our homes to provide for our safety is critical. A visit to the local police station can assist, and there are other authorities who can advise us how to design our security. Design is about the physical design of our homes as well as the design of the support around us.
Maintenance is about good upkeep: trimming trees and shrubs, ensuring all locks work, keeping an inventory of possessions updated and in a safe place, and quickly repairing blown security light globes.
Staying safe these days takes thought, planning, and action. For us and our loved ones safety is one of those things we can do something about today, before an incident takes place. Finally, we must trust our instincts.
© 2011 S. J. Wickham.
Acknowledgement for seven-point structure used: Western Australian Police Service, Office of Crime Prevention, Safety Advice for Seniors.