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Self Defense for Seniors

One of the sad realities of growing older in this world is that it has the potential of making you a target for crime. Because aging tends to bring about reduced physical and mental capabilities, along with the perception that your advanced age means collected wealth over the years, seniors are frequently the victim of crimes, both deliberate and crimes of opportunity. While most crimes that target seniors are property crimes like theft and burglary, violent crimes can and do occur. For these reasons, it’s important for seniors to learn and know how to best protect themselves. With some simple strategies, seniors of any physical capacity can make sure they stay as safe as possible.

While you might think that physical limitations would prevent you from successfully defending yourself, the reality is that all seniors, no matter their capability, can benefit from self defense awareness. And while a physical confrontation is always the last resort, the health and confidence benefits from taking martial arts classes or training are a good thing for any senior to have. But the main thing to keep in mind with self defense is situational awareness, and knowing how not to make yourself a vulnerable target to begin with.

In a famous study, inmates who had been convicted of assaulting strangers were shown footage of pedestrians and were asked to select which one they would target. Surprisingly, none of them based their choice on age, size, or gender. Very consistently, they all chose pedestrians who dragged their feet, had bad posture, and kept their eyes on the ground. With their body language, these people projected a lack of self-confidence, which made the inmates perceive them as easy targets or pushovers.

By making sure your body language and demeanor projects an air of confidence and assuredness, you can remove the possibility of being seen as an easy mark or victim, and prevent any danger before it ever happens.

  • Be aware of your surroundings: When walking, make sure to observe and take in everything around you. Make brief, non-threatening eye contact with people on the street, to let them know you see them and aren’t going to be surprised by them.
  • Carry yourself with confidence: If your mobility allows, walking upright with good posture, shoulders back, and your chin raised with eyes up and scanning the world in front of you, you’ll project confidence and security, such that it will deter potential attackers.
  • Stick to well-lit and populated areas: The more light and scrutiny and witnesses in an area, the less of a likelihood there is of anything bad happening to you in it. If you must walk around at night, stick to main streets, don’t take any shortcuts through alleyways or side streets, and try to only go to well-trafficked destinations after sundown.
  • Make noise: Nothing attracts attention and wards off a criminal or an attacker like noise. Whistles, emergency alarms, and other products exist, small enough to fit on your keychain, but loud enough to be heard over three hundred feet away.