The Australian Institute of Criminology report that the level of fear that mature adults experience about being attacked, in no way match the actual statistics of crimes against them.
So it begs the question: Why are over 60s so scared?
Well, the literal meaning of fear is “an unpleasant emotion caused by the threat of danger, pain, or harm” and it makes sense that, as seniors, you will experience it faster than younger people for one main reason: as a senior you are, and will often feel, physically weaker than a younger, fitter adult. So, it’s only logical that ageing will make you feel more powerless than your younger self when it comes to aggressive altercations – even if you’ve never personally experienced one before.
Many over 60s will try a number of solutions to overcome this fear. Some are good, others are not.
Here are some basic dos and don’ts:
Know your statistics and realise that a senior is actually LESS likely to be a victim of a violent crime. Know it and believe it – that will give you internal sense of power.
Carry yourself with presence. Walk tall and speak confidently. Even if it doesn’t come naturally, practice and it will become habit.
Stay alert and use your common sense. Just be mindful of what you do, park in well-lit busy areas, go inside the bank to pull out your money (if it is during banking hours) and keep your eyes open. Look around you to see who is around and assess if there is anyone who may be a risk. Statistically, crimes against seniors are most likely some sort of “robbery”, rather than anything else.
Trust your gut. If you see someone or something that does not look right, make a conscious decision to remove yourself from the “line of fire”.
Never carry a weapon. Most weapons in Australia are illegal, but, aside from that, when it comes to effective self-defence, it has been proven that people who carry a weapon for self-defence will more likely have their own weapon used on them in a real life altercation.
Never let anyone into your personal space. If someone feels uncomfortably close, make them move back or simply step back, but remember to stand tall and keep your voice confident.
Don’t get me wrong, fear is a great thing. It helps us, as humans, detect danger. But as a human race we need to sometimes train our body to use these natural responses properly. We don’t want to allow our age to dictate how we feel fear. We want it to do what it was created for – just protect us from the REAL dangers.