#76 In troubling times
Staying safe is critical for people who want to age well, would you agree?
Recently, shooters have massacred victims at churches, synagogues, schools, malls, grocery stores, parks, and sports events - no place seems safe these days. There have been over 300 mass shootings in 2022. I’d say - this must stop, but that doesn’t seem to be the case.
Seniors move more slowly, are less flexible, and have health problems that can affect their mobility. At the start of the 4th of July parade in Highland Park, Ill. 78-year-old Nicolas Toledo Zaragoza was sitting in a wheelchair surrounded by children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren when gunshots rang out; he died instantly. Nicolas didn’t stand a chance.
These events are scary. I want to stay home and hide under the covers. But that’s not the answer. A better focus is to ask myself, “what can I do to keep myself safe and live my life given these circumstances?” Some times, not much.
So, I want to mention activities that can make a difference in keeping oneself safe: practicing mindfulness, knowing self-defense, and taking protective measures.
Confidence and Mindfulness
Let me share a story that illustrates the importance of confidence and mindfulness.
Several years ago, a rapist targeted young college women in my city. The local Police Department used a female police officer as a decoy to catch him. She was on campus and frequented places where he previously attacked his victims. Eventually, the police apprehended him. During the questioning, officers asked him why he didn’t approach the female decoy. His response was, “No way. She was too self-assured and aware.”
In other words, she exuded a sense of sureness about herself and her abilities — not in an arrogant way, but in a realistic, secure way. The quiet inner knowledge of her capabilities allowed her to stand tall, keep her shoulders back, and walk with purpose.
She paid attention to what was going on – aware or mindful of what was happening around her and what she was doing. Her mind wasn’t engrossed in thoughts about other things.
This confident demeanor gave the impression that she should be left alone.
Several years ago, I took a self-defense class. Some of those skills remain embedded in my memory and are reflex actions.
A couple of years after taking the class, I was walking down the street in a dangerous neighborhood after attending a meeting. I sensed a presence behind me, tensed my body to defend myself, whirled around, and prepared to strike. Fortunately, I stopped. What I sensed was my husband. He knew about the meeting, was concerned, and came by to offer me a ride home.
The article Self-Defense for Seniors: Must-Know Info About How to Protect Yourself offers good information regarding the possibilities.
Self-defense for seniors can take many forms. Whether you try martial arts, learn cane fu, or take an introductory self-defense class, you'll be better prepared to protect yourself from attack and better prepared to escape from aggressors. A couple of options I found were
Tai Chi. Soft martial arts like Tai Chi are perfect for older adults just starting.
Jiu-Jitsu. For older adults seeking a more dynamic form of martial arts that's still safe, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu offers a high-intensity aerobic workout. ...
I haven’t tried them, but they may be worth checking out.
Practical Steps You Can Take
Numerous websites offer ideas for keeping yourself safe inside the home. Ideas like bars in the shower, nonskid rugs, and alert systems in case of a fall. You can read about helpful tips in the following articles
But what can you can do to keep your home safe from intruders - particularly when you are on vacation?
Lock the doors and windows.
Light the landscape.
Install a security system and security cameras.
Make sure your home looks lived-in and that someone is home.
Leave on a light.
Keep electronics and other valuables out of sight and lock your Wi-Fi network. The YouTube video offers a few suggestions.
The Reader’s Digest website also provides ideas such as leaving a car in the driveway, adding vacation mode lighting, and scheduling deliveries.
Going for a walk, bike ride, or run outside is a time to enjoy the outdoors. However, you may be an easier target when you're alone.
The Edmonton Police Department offers tips that can keep you safe and confident when you're outside by yourself. Here are a few of them.
Stick to well-populated, well-lit, busy areas.
If you are out at night, wear reflective clothing so drivers can see you.
Don’t shut yourself off. Headphones cut you off from your surroundings and make it easier for an attacker to sneak up on you.
Carry a cell phone and keep it handy for making 911 or other emergency calls. Don’t be distracted by calls, texts, or social media posts.
Call someone before you leave and talk to them while you are out. Then you have someone “with” you. If something happens, that person will realize.
Let others know where you are going.
Almost home? Have your keys available - in your hand or inside your pocket.
Avoid struggling with several bags.
If you think someone is following you, go into an open store, a business, or where people are.
Act on your gut feeling. If you have a bad feeling about someone, ignore them and walk away.
Yell if you are under attack. Be noisy. Noise can scare off an attacker.
I want to add practicing different scenarios so that your instincts are sharp. In other words, think about what you would do if someone grabbed you, snatched your purse, or attacked you. Be prepared just in case.
Carry self-defense products with you, such as Mace or Pepper Spray, and know how to use them.
What steps have you taken? Would you be willing to share?
So while the times are scary, there are things you can do to keep yourself safe and age well. Take care!
The articles I want to share with you this week are:
How NOT to get sick. This article is a MUST-read for everyone who wishes to age well.
An Art Affair in Italy. I will probably never get to Italy, so this is a lovely way to learn about the country.
Upgrade Your Life - This site always motivates me to go forward.
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