Safety for Seniors


Safety for seniors

Contrary to belief, seniors still only represent a very small percentage of crime victims.
Research has shown that those who appear confident and take security precautions are less likely to become victims of crime. By introducing a few common-sense practises into your daily routine you can give yourself, your family, friends and neighbours a much greater peace of mind.

Safety tips

Home Security

  • ensure your house number is clearly visible
  • never tell anyone that you are at home alone - for example trades or delivery people
  • trim trees and bushes to allow a clear view of your home (this will remove hiding places for possible offenders
  • don't leave keys in obvious places, such as under pot plants or in the meter box
  • make sure handbags and wallets are not left in sight - for example on bench tops or cupboards
  • install security screens and grilles
  • fit deadlocks and key locks to doors and windows
  • install motion sensor floodlights
  • think about installing an alarm system
  • get to know your neighbours, they can be your eyes and ears if you're not at home

Using public transport

  • travel with a friend
  • wait for transport in a well-lit area close to other commuters
  • keep a current timetable to minimise time spent waiting
  • don't sit alone on buses or trains and be sure that you can be seen by the driver or other passengers
  • consider carrying a personal alarm

Your phone and shopping

Using your telephone

The telephone is probably your most important means of communication, however there are some criminals in society that will use it to their advantage

  • always hang up on unwelcome callers.
  • never give your name or address to unknown telephone callers
  • don't disclose that you live alone or that you may be away from your home
  • never disclose any personal or financial information
  • invest in an answering machine
  • consider changing your phone number to a silent or unlisted number

Safer shopping

  • shop with friends whenever possible.
  • if you carry a purse or bag, hold it close to your body, tucked under your arm.
  • always have a firm hold of your handbag or purse, don't leave it on shop counters or on the seat beside you on the bus or train.
  • never leave your handbag in the shopping trolley.
  • never carry large sums of money. Use EFTPOS or credit cards wherever possible.
  • use an ATM in shopping centres (not external ATMs) but check you are not being watched.
  • don't carry signed withdrawal forms with your bank book.
  • always be aware of your surroundings.

Related links

Seniors and Road Safety

The chance of drivers aged 60 or more being involved in serious crashes may seem low compared with the rest of the adult community, until you realise they don’t travel as far as other drivers. Per kilometres driven, older drivers are more at risk than drivers in most other age groups. Although senior drivers have fewer collisions, when they are involved in crashes they may experience more serious injuries and take longer to recover.
12% of road fatalities were aged over 60 in 2016
Drivers aged over 80 must have a medical clearance to renew their licence
10km/h is the maximum speed for mobility scooters

Renewing your licence

Once you reach the age of 80, you must undergo an annual medical assessment before you can renew your licence. Mandatory practical driving assessments are no longer required by drivers aged 85 and older, unless recommended by a medical professional.

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Mobility scooters and motorised wheelchairs

Mobility scooters or devices give independence to people who have difficulty walking due to a physical condition. However, mobility scooters are not meant to be used as a replacement for a motor vehicle.

Users of motorised wheelchairs and mobility scooters are classed as pedestrians under current traffic laws, provided the maximum speed of the equipment is 10 km/h. Some devices are capable of travelling faster than 10 km/h and these must be registered as vehicles.

Mobility scooters and motorised wheelchairs are allowed to travel on:

  • footpaths
  • shared paths
  • the sides of roads if there is no footpath.

There are currently no laws prohibiting or governing the use of mobility scooters by people who do not have limited mobility.

Alternative Transport

WA Seniors can travel for free on all Transperth services between 9am and 3:30pm Monday to Friday and all-day Saturday, Sunday and public holidays. All you need is a Seniors, Pensioner or Veterans SmartRider.

Driving and your health

There are many different conditions that can affect you when driving or when using the roads as a pedestrian.

Medication

Check warning labels on medication and don't drive if the medicine causes sleepiness, nausea, blurred or double vision, dizziness and shaking. Check with your doctor or pharmacist if you are not sure about the effects of your medication.

Vision

Whether you are using the roads as a driver or as a pedestrian, vision naturally deteriorates as we age. It is important to wear spectacles if they have been prescribed and to also have regular eye checks.

Flexibility

Some seniors may experience reduced flexibility and slower reaction time. These factors can also affect driving ability and your safety as a pedestrian. In addition, hearing problems, dementia and heart disease may also impact on a senior’s ability to drive safely or use the roads as a pedestrian.

Safe driving

The discussion of safe driving with an older relative or friend can be a sensitive topic. The following check list courtesy of NZTA may help distinguish between one-off and frequent behaviours by older drivers:

  • they mention they're not as confident as they once were.
  • they're having difficulty turning to see when reversing.
  • they're easily distracted.
  • other drivers honk their horns.
  • you notice scratches or dents on their car, mailbox or garage.
  • they get visibly agitated or irritated while driving
  • they drive too fast or too slowly for the conditions
  • they fail to spot a hazard (such as a pedestrian running across the road)
  • they rely on a co-pilot (a passenger giving them instructions while driving)
  • they have had a 'near miss'
  • they fail to keep within their lane
  • they have received an infringement offence notice (traffic ticket)
  • they get lost in familiar places
  • they're involved in a crash in which they have some degree of fault
  • they fail to stop at a stop sign or red light
  • they confuse the accelerator and brake pedals
  • they stop in traffic for no apparent reason.

Visit the Road Safety Commission's website for more practical information and information on Driving Safely or Renewing Your Licence

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