Safety matters are important.
Holiday plans are being made and excitement is in the air
with only a few weeks left until the end-of-year break.
But have you factored in your safety plans during the festive season?
“Criminals often prey on older members of society because they are seen as vulnerable, soft targets,” says Charnel Hattingh, National Marketing and Communications Manager Fidelity ADT.
“While safety should be a priority year-round, it is particularly important to ensure safety measures are in place when family, carers and friends are away for the holidays.”
Security is just as important for those senior citizens living in retirement villages and complexes as those in stand-alone homes. “Break-ins are not isolated to stand-alone homes any longer,” she says.
“A thorough security check of your home and the surrounding premises ahead of the holiday makes sense. If there are any vulnerable areas, these need to be addressed. Don’t leave repairs or installations to the last minute when suppliers have already packed up shop for the holiday,” she adds.
Besides checking the perimeter security such as walls and gates, and testing that the alarm system is working, it is important to check that the locks fitted on windows and doors are of a good quality.
“If you need to get an expert opinion, get a security person to come and do an evaluation.”
Panic buttons are a must.
“Don’t forget the importance of carrying the panic button on you at all times. Not only can you call for help if there is a security incident, you can also raise the alarm if there is a medical emergency.”
She adds that there should always be a list of important contact numbers near the telephone or emergency numbers on quick-dial on a cell phone so that no time is wasted in the event of an emergency.
“It’s a good idea to inform your security company that you are alone, so that the security company is aware and could do a drive-by or stop-in to check that all is ok.”
“Do not open your doors for anyone unless they have verified who they are. It is an unfortunate reality that the elderly are often victims of con-artists. You need to be suspicious of anyone who comes to the door with a story. Rather call someone to come and check before letting the person in. This also applies to people who may call on your phone wanting personal information, asking for money etc. Don’t ever freely give out your personal details – including credit card details, identity or banking information.”
Hattingh offers the following additional safety tips for senior citizens:
- If you plan to go out, even if it is just for a short walk, tell someone where you are going and when you expect to return.
- If you are going to the shops, never hold your handbag dangling at the straps; keep it tucked tightly under your arm.
- If you are only taking along your purse or wallet, either carry it in the front pocket of your trousers or in an inside jacket pocket.
- While shopping, never leave your handbag or anything of value, like a cell phone, unattended or in the trolley.
“We all need to be conscious of the fact that many elderly people do not go away for the holidays and will be at home alone. Ensure your festive season is a crime-free one,” she concludes.