SELF DEFENSE

Self-defense for seniors is vitally important because we need to know how to take care and protect ourselves as best we can. In researching this topic, it became evident that not all seniors are equal in their abilities and agility. Because baby-boomers are living longer lives, there is no reason for us to become victims or prey for those debased persons who seek to target the elderly. There are things you can do to protect yourself.

Protect yourself with Self-Defense
While many people feel having a gun is the ultimate answer for self-defense, this is not for everyone. You must know how to properly handle and use a gun. Taking a class on the proper use of it and going to a firing range to practice are certainly needed.  If not, you could end up hurting yourself, rather than the criminal who targeted you. There are some devices seniors could keep on or near them at all times which can readily be used as weapons for self-defense. Let’s take a look at some of them:

       Flashlight – used to blind an adversary  or strike a blow
       Keys – hold them so that the sharp points can be ready for use
       Pepper spray or any spray – used to disarm and blind; while you get away
       Umbrella – is a classic weapon since no one knows how well you will use it
       Weights – while walking it’s a good idea to use these for exercise and defense
       Canned goods – when used to deliver a strong blow to the head, nose, and ears can disarm an assailant
       Cane – is truly a great weapon because it can be used with some distance
       Scissors – can be used as a weapon and cut rope to get away

All of these items are only good if you take the time to practice using them. You need not make it an everyday concern, but enough to know how to handle them in a dangerous situation. Fight or flight is a normal human emotion, add to that the surge of adrenalin, proper usage of the item as a weapon; and an assailant will be the one surprised. It is a good idea to have 911 programmed in your phone, seconds count in situations where you perceive danger.

In talking with police officers about self-defense, they often mentioned that criminals are looking for easy prey; someone distracted, not paying attention to their surroundings, and someone they can quickly attack without fear of struggle nor draws attention.  In particular, they look for those they can grab (women with long hair, ponytails, braids or buns) or clothing which can easily be cut with a knife and removed. Those on cell phones, searching through their purse or other activities while walking can be overpowered because they are distracted.

Along with easy prey; places of abduction and attack include:
1.     Grocery store parking lots
2.     Office parking lots/garages
3.     Public restrooms
4.     Malls
Assailants are looking for an abduction they can quickly move to a second location, where they feel safer and less likely to be caught. Scream, fight or whatever you can to get away. The key is to convince the abductor through your self-defense actions, you are not worth the struggle. Don’t focus on their strength, but on ways to disarm them. You might shout “I have pepper spray” and proceed to use it.  By all means, report your experience immediately, you might help get them off the street and prevent someone else from harm.
If someone is following behind you on a street, in a garage, or with you in an elevator or stairwell; turn and look them in the face and make small talk, such as the weather or ask for the time. This way you have seen their face and can identify them. You then lose your appeal for them to go any further with their plans.
Maintain or create agility and stamina so that you will be able to utilize whatever form of self-defense you choose through regular exercise.
Exercises such as Weight Training - Chair Exercise - Stretching - Tai Chi - Boxing

All of these exercises done regularly help strengthen muscles and self-confidence, which you will need to get through the attack.  Of course, all of the things we are typically forewarned of still apply:
1.     Always be aware of your surroundings
2.     Try not to travel alone
3.     Stay away from dark or isolated areas
4.     Pay attention to odd behavior
5.     Follow your instincts