With nearly 50 million citizens age 65 and older living in the United States and Canada, seniors represent one of the fastest growing population segments, but also a demographic commonly targeted for crime. As the senior population continues to increase—it’s expected to nearly double by 2050 in the U.S. and 2035 in Canada—so too does the need for senior safety education. As part of the brand’s ongoing commitment to keep consumers safe through every life stage and season, Master Lock offers its top safety tips for seniors.
“The senior demographic faces a unique set of security concerns and are also the most fearful of crime,” said Rebecca Smith, vice president, marketing for Master Lock. “We aim to not only educate this group about potential security risks, but to give them the tools they need to be—and feel—safe and secure.”
- Be Alert When Out and About: Property crimes represent the highest share of crimes against those 65 and older—nearly nine out of 10—according to the National Elder Law Network. Master Lock recommends that seniors be alert and aware of their surroundings when out of the house and to keep valuables protected. For example, always lock cars, even if they’ll only be unattended for a few minutes. Keep packages and valuables out of sight, and always check the area around your car before entering or exiting. When out in public, women should wear their purses close to their body and men should carry their wallet in an inside coat or front pant pocket.
- Lock Up Home Safety: Typically a place of comfort and refuge, seniors should never have to worry about safety in their own home. For added protection beyond traditional door and window locks, safeguard sliding glass and patio doors with the added strength of a Master Lock 265DCCSEN Door Security Bar and consider a home alarm system to alert against intruders. Keep doors locked both when you’re home and away, but allow access to a friend or family member in case of emergency by storing a spare key in a trusted key safe, such as the Master Lock 5422D Key Safe. A spare key can also be a great thing to keep on hand for kids coming home after school or for friends on neighbors who occasionally check on pets or your house.
- Secure Personal Items in a Group Home Environment: Misplaced or stolen belongings are a frequent complaint of nursing home residents. Keep valuables safe by storing them in an easy-to-use, locked safe that only you and a trusted companion know the combination to. Small items, such as credit cards, jewelry or cash, fit in the portable Master Lock 5900D SafeSpace, while larger items, like documents or memorabilia, can be stored in a fire-resistant safe from Sentry Safe. Fire-resistant safes are something that you should consider for any home. Dorm rooms are another place where the portable Master Lock 5900D SafeSpace or Sentry Safe could really come in handy.
- Protect Against Identity Theft: Mature consumers (ages 50 and over) represent the largest demographic of identity theft victims, according to the Federal Trade Commission. Why? Consumers in this age group typically have more assets than younger consumers, making them ideal targets. Reduce your risk by never carrying your social security card; shredding documents that contain any identifying information; keeping personal information such as bank statements, Medicare statements and social security numbers in a locked safe; and storing credit card numbers in a safe location for easy retrieval if they’re lost or stolen. TheMaster Lock Vault—a free, digital safe deposit box—is a secure, reliable location for storing credit card numbers and digital copies of important documents for easy access from any smart phone or computer.
- Think Twice Before Divulging Personal Information: Seniors are also major targets of fraud, such as telemarketing scams, according to the American Association of Retired Persons. Follow the general rule of thumb that if an offer seems too good to be true, it probably is. Never rush into signing anything, and never give your credit card, Social Security, Medicare, or bank account details to anyone over the phone. When in doubt, check with the Better Business Bureau or police.