If you’re choosing to maintain your independence into old age, that’s great news! These tips will help keep you out of harm’s way
One of the many benefits of Mycare’s service is our background screening process – so you know any worker you choose to welcome into your life checks out. Here we look at what else can you do to ensure you’re protected and feel safe as houses when choosing to remain in your own home.
In the neighbourhood
Neighbourhood Support groups meet to connect with others living in the area and to exchange information and ideas. Visit Neighbourhood Support to tap into the support network of your local group or find out how to start one yourself. Not only is being part of a group an excellent way to increase security (ask your local coordinator if they can provide you with a security checklist for use in your home, too), it can also provide you with a welcome sense of community.
At your place
If you’ve got sturdy locks and secure windows, it’s unlikely anyone will get in. But would you be easily able to get out if you needed to, such as during a fire? Four people over the age of 70 die in house fires annually (a figure the New Zealand Fire Service considers proportionally high), so if you don’t have working smoke alarms and an escape plan in mind, you’re putting yourself at serious risk.
Sleep easy knowing you’ll be alerted to a fire by installing smoke alarms, or a firefighter can come to your home and do it for you. Put reminders on your calendar to check the batteries regularly – at least once a year.
And where do you position them? Up high. Smoke rises, so having them on the ceiling will give you an early warning. Place them in the bedrooms, living area and hallway; if you can only afford one, pop it in the hallway closest to the bedrooms. Avoid the kitchen and laundry, as smoke and heat from day-to-day tasks can set them off unnecessarily.
Half of all fires involving older people involve heating appliances, so other ways in which you can protect yourself from house fires includes not sleeping with an electric blanket on and not using old gadgets. Dispose of cigarettes carefully and never leave cooking unattended.
Find out more in the Fire Service booklet Make Your Home and Family Fire Safe.
You probably already know not to do business or share personal or financial information with anyone who comes to your door or calls on the phone, but online scamming can sometimes catch people unawares.
When you’re on the internet, protect yourself from e-crime by:
- installing virus protection software on your computer and other devices
- ignoring scams, such as emails that promise get-rich schemes, the Nigerian fee scam, and notifications about prize winnings in competitions you haven’t entered
- never divulging bank details, usernames and passwords, except when making transactions on proven, secure sites
- ignoring emails from unknown senders. Don’t forward them on either (this includes jokes and funny pictures or videos), and ignore any attachments and links as they can infect your computer with viruses, as well as the devices of anyone you send them to.
For more information, visit NetSafe.
The New Zealand Police provides a comprehensive resource to help older people stay safe in their own home. Visit Keeping Safe at Home.