How to overcome the fear of being attacked in your 60s

The Australian Institute of Criminology report that the level of fear that mature adults experience about being attacked, in no way

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:


  1. 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.

  2. Carry yourself with presence. Walk tall and speak confidently. Even if it doesn’t come naturally, practice and it will become habit.

  3. 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.

  4. 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”.


  1. 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.

  2. 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.

Will you try these tips? Do you have any other suggestions to share?

  1. I am so glad you posted this article because self defence has been on my mind this last couple of days.
    I received a mild threat from one of my neighnours. Doubt that he meant it but who knows?
    He certainly over-reacted to the fact that he doesn’t like where I put my bin.
    Does he honestly believe I would passively allow him to put me,’over his knee,’ ???

  2. I am always very conscious of not putting myself into a vulnerable situation. I never walk for exercise in the early morning on my own. My husband does but he always walks in a group. He walks on weekends whereas I prefer to sleep in on the weekends. I have a treadmill in our garage and I walk on that and feel safe. I always draw my money out of the bank during business hours. I think it is a question of being vigilant just like everyone else in the community.

  3. This is a worry we are not safe anywhere, I think people looking for drug money is mostly to blame older people are easy targets

  4. A confrontation can come from anywhere at any time be always vigilant if you are travelling in a car and you have an accident stay in side dont get out call for assistance never be out when its dark even if you have company groups of villains are afoot

  5. My dad told me when I was first heading for the city, “always carry your car keys on a ring and slip the ring over you finger, keys in your palm. If accosted you can then use the key to stab at arms, legs or any exposed area.” I still do these many years later. Another trick…if needing money after bank hours go into a club or some other facility that has crowds and use their ATM. Much safer then an ATM on the street.

    • Yes my father was a cop and taught me the same thing. I told everyone at work. Last year someone tried to attack a girl (can’t remember where ) and she slashed her attacker with her car keys. Turned out she was the daughter of a cop. Everyone at work thanked me for the tip after they heard about it.

    • Angie B  

      One of my brothers who was a security guard and prison officer taught me to do the same thing. I always keep my keys in my hand after locking the car. Happy to say I have never had to use this tip, though!

  6. If you feel threatened maje eye contact so the person knowd you have seen them and therefore can describe them.
    If you carry a baseball bat have a catchers mit with it lol

  7. Get a dog…burglars will give your pkace a miss and find a house without a dog.

    • When we first bought our farm I retired here while my husband commuted to Sydney. I never worried as a had my dogs to protect me.

    • They only need to make a noise, no matter what the size. Valuable asset, emotionally as well!

    • My little boy has people bailed up at the door…not on his watch does anybody enter my yard…yes love him to bits too…very reliable company 🙂

    • At one time I had to ridge backs. The male was always lazy and laid back. One night we had a prowler on our property and the two ridge backs started baying like wolves. Just the threat that we would release the dogs sent the prowler scuttling. Our male dog them patrolled all night.

    • Nita Crompton , I had a gorgeous ridge back cross on the farm, she was a rescue and so beautiful and big…glorious girl and a little chiauha cross…well the little dog would circle cars yapping if they pulled up in the driveway and grown men would beep their horn…lol…but if little Rosie yapped a certain way big dog would come around…so guy here is a Shitzu maltese cross…little fluffy white boy..but super protective…best security system.

    • Suzanne. They are lovely dogs. Our female died last August at the age of 12. The old boy lives on. Stone deaf and arthritic but he seems content to lie on the deck and sleep most of the time. Still enjoys his food though.

    • One of the hitches of older age, is losing our older pets. We actually had a discussion as to how we would manage another large breed dog when we lost our old girl last year. So, we decided this pup would be our last biggy. Fluffballs next for us. Lol

    • Julie Garton . As I am on a farm it is another big one for us. We now have a 9 month old maremma. Very good with all other animals but still thinks chooks are toys, but she is learning.

    • Nita, my niece has a Maremma, and I follow her breeder on Facebook. They are adorable! Big Fluffballs! Of course, I had to go see Oddball as well! Our doberman is 10 months, husband refers to her as “ain’t no Einstein”. I’m sure our previous dobes have been brighter….but she is a loving brainless sausage.

    • Nita Crompton so sad isnt it…my little Rosie passed this year aged 15 and big dog passed last year…yes I run retirement homes for my pets too xxx

    • Julie Garton hi, I purposely got a little dog because I need to be able to bath and care for him alone…loved the big dogs too but Mozart is wonderful and I havent got a big yard but he really is a house dog with a doggy door so he loves his weekly bath and groom every couple of months,

    • Julie Garton Dobermans are brilliant…I had Bella for over 10 years…silly for the first 3 like all puppys 🙂

    • Suźanne, send me your address, I’ll send an idiot pup to you! She’s about to be throttled, had a very naughty day! I totally agree with you about managing size with bath and vet visits. It was something that we were really concerned about. I’m not sure if I will survive till her maturity! She steals wet washing out of the basket as you’re hanging, runs off at top speed, then totally deaf to her name. Gotta love a puppy. It has been 14 years since we did the puppy thing! Lol

  8. My dad was in the army so I grew up in garrison towns. He was very keen on me learning self defence. From that I went on to judo. I practiced judo for about 5 years reaching my brown belt. Unfortunately study and normal teen activities stopped me reaching my black belt. I coached judo in my forties for a while but found I didn’t bounce so well then. I do feel I could still cope with most situations without panicking.

  9. Tips from ex cop Dad. Always carry your car keys in your hand looped over your finger. If a guy comes at you front on don’t try and kick him in the groin he can grab you by the leg drop you on your back then has you where he wants you. Use car keys to slash or poke him in the eyes. Never travel in or leave your car unlocked. If your doors are locked someone can’t just jump in when you are stopped at an intersection or lights. Even going to pay for fuel always lock your car. If someone is standing near your car don’t go to it while they are there. Report to any type of security around if available. Wait until you see them walk well away. They won’t stay there forever.

    • However, if you are in a car accident you are locked in. The other thing I’ve heard is if you have deadlocks in your house always hang the keys near the door as if there is a fire you dont want to be searching for them.

    • Good advice Margaret…was in Neighbourhood Watch where I used to live and was given this advice along with lots of other interesting and useful tips.

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