Safety Tips for Senior Citizens

As we age, we may feel more vulnerable due to many factors. Some seniors live alone, some have health or mobility issues, and some are afraid to venture out to the places they love to frequent such as shopping, going to worship service, or visiting family and friends. Criminals often see seniors as “soft targets” or victims who can easily be manipulated or overtaken by physical force. Some of the areas of concern, especially for seniors, include staying safe in their homes, interacting safely in their community, and not becoming a victim of cybercrime or identity theft to name a few. 

Safer Seniors at Home

Everyone wants to feel safe in their home. How can seniors make their homes safer and more secure? Seniors can fortify their homes by having stronger locks installed on all doors and windows, along with adding an alarm system that is monitored for medical emergencies, fire, carbon monoxide, and intruders. Getting to know your neighbors and exchanging phone numbers in the event you need help is another layer of security. Ensure that your house numbers are well-lit so that emergency personnel can locate your home easily, especially at night. Trim bushes to prevent a hiding space for criminals. Install a peep hole or camera with a two-way talk feature and the ability to view your camera from your computer or cell phone. Do not open your door for unexpected strangers. Close your curtains or blinds, especially at night, to prevent others from seeing inside. Use timers on lights, both inside and outside. Install slip resistant rugs and shower bars to avoid falling. 

Senior citizens on the computer

When soliciting the help of contractors, verify with the company that background checks are conducted and ask ahead of time who will be performing the work. Upon arrival, ask for identification before allowing them into your home to ensure it is the contractor you are expecting. Keep your cell phone in your pocket for quick access to emergency responders. Also, consider investing in a personal medical alarm that is designed to be worn on your body and used to contact first responders in the event of a fall or other emergency. Keep your garage door closed and locked. Never leave your garage door opener in plain view in your car. Do not leave extra house keys under your doormat or in a flowerpot. They are the first places criminals look!ctus nec ullamcorper mattis, pulvinar dapibus leo.

Safer Seniors in the Community

Being active in the community is rewarding for you and others. Feeling safe in your community is vital to your mental and physical well-being. There are several safety tips to consider that may reduce your chances of becoming a crime victim. Being alert, cautious, self-confident, and aware of your surroundings will enhance your safety. Make eye contact with people you encounter when out and about in your community.
Get to know the people in your neighborhood. Consider joining your Neighborhood Watch and get to know your local police department personnel. If you are afraid to exercise alone in your neighborhood, consider researching adult activity centers in your community. Many seniors attend these facilities to learn new activities, socialize, and attend exercise classes with their peers. Travel with friends or family members to activities outside of your home. If you carry a purse, carry a crossbody type, keeping it close to your body and not dangling. Keep your wallet in your pocket. You can also consider carrying a fanny pack on your waist. When shopping, never leave your purse unattended in the shopping cart.

If you drive, always lock your car doors as soon as you enter your vehicle. Place your purse or bag on the passenger floor, not the seat, and keep your passenger window rolled up. Use direct deposit for pension and Social Security checks. Use the automated teller machine (ATM) whenever possible. Don’t carry large amounts of cash and be mindful of others after making bank transactions to avoid being a victim of jugging. Jugging occurs when criminals watch unsuspecting victims after making bank transactions or shopping and follows them home to rob them. If you think you are being followed, dial 9-1-1 to report it.
If you use public transportation, be extra vigilant. If waiting for a bus, place your back against a wall to reduce attacks from behind. On the bus, sit as close to the driver as possible or an exit door. Hold your purse or bag close to your body with both hands. Stay alert to everyone around you and those boarding the bus. Pay special attention to anyone who exits the bus with you. Never disclose where you are going or give any personal information to strangers.

Senior citizens exercising
Ladies who lunch

Safer Seniors with Technology

Many seniors use social media for staying connected with family and friends. Some utilize online dating applications as an easier way to meet companions. They also use the internet for shopping and grocery deliveries. Using cell phones and computers for these purposes can increase your exposure to cybercrimes. Enhance the security on your computer by installing an anti-virus software. When on social media, never post where you are, when you’re leaving, or how long you will be away from your home. Practice “time lag posting” which means posting on social media after you return, as opposed to posting in real time. 

Do not give any personal or financial information to anyone over the phone including credit card numbers, Social Security number and bank account numbers. If you live alone, never disclose this information over the phone or computer. You have the option to register your phone number with the Do Not Call Registry by visiting to stop telemarketers from contacting you. Check your credit report at least twice a year and address any credit mistakes with the credit bureau. When discarding important documents that include confidential information, shred it before throwing it away. Never carry your passport, birth certificate, or social security card, unless you are using it to transact business. 

Never allow suspicious callers to pressure you into making a quick purchasing decision. If you feel uncomfortable, hang up the phone. If you are scammed, file a complaint immediately. Contact the National Fraud Information Center at or call the Fraud Hotline at 800-876-7060. You can also file an online complaint with the Federal Trade Commission at

Having a safety mindset and reviewing ways to improve your safety and security will help to enhance your well-being, quality of life, and confidence with everyday life activities. Be a safer senior and enjoy your life to its fullest! 

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