The reality is that at some point in time we are all going to get old. If we are lucky, we will be able to afford a secure retirement village, but this is not always the case for everyone.
Many elderly people find themselves vulnerable as they grow older with often very little support from direct family and community. This month the plight of an elderly lady in Gallo Manor who is not well and has suffered a number of attempted incidents at her home, most of the time only alerted by the neighbours dogs barking when someone is on her property, caught the attention, and hearts, of Fidelity ADT.
In the latest incident, the resident heard noises outside but could not figure out where the noises were coming from. Later she was woken up and noticed that the store room door was open and phoned Fidelity ADT. On arrival, Fidelity ADT Reaction officers checked the whole premises and found a bicycle along the precast. An unknown number of suspects had gained access into the premises by jumping over the precast wall along Bowling avenue and proceeded onto the main house where they climbed on the roof, removed tiles and gained access into the store room. The suspects had already fled the scene.
“Criminals often prey on older members of society because they are seen as vulnerable, soft targets,” says Aslam Munsur Community Development Manager for Fidelity ADT. “Their safety should be a priority and we decided unilaterally to step in and support our elderly customer. Our officers are now helping to cut the grass and clear away foliage in her garden. Overgrown foliage is an absolute no no and should always be kept trimmed back so your property is clearly visible. We also decided to upgrade her security system at no extra charge.”
Munsur says if residents, particularly elderly residents are staying alone they need to take heed of the following:
- Conduct a regular thorough security check of your home and surrounding premises and address any vulnerable areas.
- Test your alarm system regularly and also 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,” Munsur says.
- Panic buttons are a must. “This should be carried at all times. Not only can you call for help if there is a security incident but you can also raise the alarm if there is a medical emergency.”
- Keep 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. “You may also want to consider informing your security company that you are living alone so person so they are aware and could do a drive-by or stop-in to check that all is ok.”
- Never open the door to anyone you do not know or are expecting. It is an unfortunate reality that the elderly are often victims of con-artists.
- Never give any of your personal information to anyone, not even your bank on the phone.
- 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.