Senior Self Defense: Tips to Protect Yourself in Public
Mar 02, 2020
While we may think mature adults are at higher risk of violence, the U.S. Department of Justice reports that younger people are actually more likely to be victims than people over the age of 65. Thankfully, when it comes to senior safety, there are plenty of habits that can dramatically reduce the chances that you’ll be part of the statistics. The key is to learn and implement best practices that can help. Here are some useful senior self-defense tips from safety experts that you can start using today.
Self Defense Tips for Seniors
1. Be Aware of Your Surroundings
This may go without saying, but we could all use a reminder to pay attention. It’s easy to focus more on your phone or the shops you’re walking past instead of your surroundings when you’re in public. We all do it, especially in places we’re familiar with. However, that habit can put us in dangerous situations where we don’t realize there’s a problem until it’s too late.
So whenever you are out in public, take a moment to take in your surroundings. You may notice there are people sitting near the sidewalks, cars parked with people inside or areas that are hidden by trees. Look for areas along your path that may be dangerous so you’re prepared, but don’t be fearful. By simply acknowledging your environment, you’ll be less likely to be surprised by something or someone.
Another important tip is to stay in well-lit areas when possible. If the sun has set, walk only in paths that are illuminated by street lights or lights that come from nearby businesses. Darkness makes it easy for a criminal to take advantage and make a getaway without being seen.
2. Walk with Confidence
If your surroundings are dark or filled with people you don’t know, think about whether you even have to walk in that direction. Taxis and ride-sharing businesses like Lyft operate in nearly every city, including Oklahoma City, and sometimes it’s simply safer to pay for a ride.
However, if you are walking, do so with confidence. Many people want to take advantage of others who are easy targets. Confidence makes you look and feel stronger, making them less likely to target you. Maintain a good posture, with your spine straight and your shoulders back. When you pass people, make eye contact with them. You may even exchange a greeting. Even if they are not friendly, they’ll at least know that you’ve gotten a good look at them.
When possible, you should also:
- Keep pace with others around you. Walking too slow could set you up for additional risks, especially if you are carrying many things.
- Always know where your valuable items are and keep them tucked away in bags that zip.
- Choose bags with straps that lay across your body. They’re safer than carrying a bag loosely over one shoulder, as it is more difficult for someone to run past and snatch it.
- Carry your wallet in your front pocket to make it less likely for a pick-pocketer to take it without you noticing.
3. Be Careful About Distractions
To improve awareness during your time outdoors, make it a habit to put your phone away when you’re walking. People who talk on the phone or even stare at their screens, whether it’s to send a text or check a map, are more likely to have their phone stolen or be the victim of another crime, simply because they were self-absorbed.
Also, be aware of a common tactic that criminals use to rob you of your possessions: team distractions. Some groups use multiple people to distract and take advantage of others. One may ask you the time or directions while another person reaches into your bag or pocket without you noticing. If you’re concerned and someone you don’t know tries to engage you in conversation near other people, keep walking.
Tips If You Are Attacked
In the unlikely case that someone does confront you, be prepared to act. If they threaten you with a weapon, especially if it is a gun, give them whatever they demand. Your wallet, whatever is in your bags and your phone can all be replaced. It is not worth your life to hold on to your things.
If you are physically attacked, fight back. Be loud and yell as much as you can. This will attract attention and will let them know that you’re not an easy victim. Use whatever weapon you have available. This may be your pocketbook, car keys or a cane. If you carry pepper spray, keep it handy so you can access it quickly. Aim for places that will cause the most pain quickly, like the eyes, groin or knees.
To get comfortable with fighting back, consider investing in a self-defense class such as Krav Maga. There are several self-defense class options nearby in Oklahoma City. Some types of defensive techniques, like judo or jiu-jitsu, are designed to teach you moves to keep you safe even against opponents who are stronger than you.
The Best Self-Defense in Oklahoma City: A Safe Place to Live
There are certain areas that are safer than others, no matter your age or the habits you have cultivated to protect yourself when in public. Staying away from areas that are hotspots for drugs, for example, will help to keep you away from where criminals tend to visit.
It may also be a good idea to move to a retirement community that can provide the living environment you want along with additional amenities and services that will make your retirement years even more enjoyable. The best communities offer luxury living with 24-hour security that will help you feel secure while you enjoy amenities like on-site restaurants, fitness centers and pools.
Grand Tapestry at Quail Springs, a luxury community for active residents who are at least 55 years old, is one of the best locations for independent living OKC has to offer. With on-site dining, shopping and entertainment, residents enjoy safe and enjoyable opportunities for social activities every day. To learn more and schedule a tour, contact us today.