Criminals prefer an easy target, which means anyone who might seem vulnerable at the time can become a victim. That’s why it’s no surprise that seniors are frequently the targets of people with ill-intent. In fact, seniors are one of the groups most at risk for petty theft like burglaries and purse-snatching. And while it’s true senior citizens are less likely to be the victim of a violent assault, being more vulnerable to an attack means it’s only prudent to prepare for one.
Learning Self Defense for Seniors: Tips to Minimize Your Chances of Attack
Learning senior self-defense techniques doesn’t mean that you’re training to become the next Bruce Lee. On the contrary, senior self-defense is mostly about learning to be aware of your surroundings, cultivating the right attitude to deter criminals, and having a firm grasp of your own capabilities.
For instance, one of the best ways to deter criminals is to take a few simple precautions that prevent you from looking like an attractive target. If your arms are overloaded with groceries and you’re walking in a poorly lit area at night, you’re the perfect mark for an unscrupulous character. Reducing your attractiveness as a target is usually pretty easy with the application of a little thought. For instance, jackets can be worn over purses to make them less visible, and fewer valuables can be carried.
Experts will tell you that even looking like a target can make you a target. That’s why it’s important to walk confidently and be aware and alert regarding the environment. Whenever possible, do activities in a group. If you’re doing some shopping alone, feel free to ask for an escort back to your car. And although it might seem cliché, doing your errands in the daytime can help you avoid criminal activity because crime mostly takes place at night.
Surviving an Attack
Seniors who are physically fit are less likely to get hurt in an attack. Basic strength training probably isn’t going to help anyone beat up an assailant, but it can give you the strength necessary to break free from a hold, prevent yourself from being thrown to the ground, and enabling you to seek help.
Many seniors carry phones that are designed with immediate 911 connections, which can and should be triggered at the first sign of trouble. For seniors without such devices, electronic pocket whistles are cheap, small enough to attach to a key ring, and are capable of unleashing a deafening 120db blast of sound to call for help and scare away an attacker.
Armed Senior Citizens
Weapons can even the odds between a vulnerable elderly person and an unprepared assailant. Many senior self-defense experts suggest not carrying weapons like Tasers and guns because they may escalate the situation and could be used against the senior in question. But for those who don’t spurn conventional weapons, a can of pepper spray is small enough to conceal on a key ring, and a single spray to the face is enough to drag the toughest assailant to their knees for nearly an hour.
It’s important to remember that nearly anything can be used as a weapon. In an attack, your best defense might be a can of food from your bag or the keys in your pocket. When you strike at vulnerable areas, like the eyes, or the bridge of the nose, you don’t need great strength to disable or deter an attacker who wasn’t expecting resistance.
Senior self-defense isn’t about making up for fragility — it’s about strengthening yourself and being prepared for what might come. An attacker wants you to think you’re weak. Self-defense training can provide the practice, techniques, confidence, and preparation necessary to prevent your loved ones from becoming a victim. Self-defense classes are often available through local police stations, martial arts facilities, or from a variety of videos and DVDs available almost everywhere.