As seniors spend more time indoors due to the COVID-19 pandemic, often isolated from their loved ones due to physical distancing protocols, they face more significant physical dangers as well as threats from scammers online and offline.
That’s why you must take the appropriate steps to provide extra security. Let’s look at some of these essential measures:
Secure Their Homes
With many seniors living alone or with part-time caregivers, you improve safety at home:
- Ensure that their caregiver has recently had a COVID-19 test. Only hire caregivers that respect physical distancing protocols. Select people who’ve been vaccinated. Likewise, encourage your senior to get vaccinated.
- Ensure that there are no fall hazards inside and outside the home. Remove clutter such as magazines and newspapers or unnecessary furniture.
- Create an emergency evacuation plan with your seniors and their caregiver. Install a stair climbing chair for safe and easy evacuation. There should be fire and carbon monoxide alarms installed in strategic places throughout the home and in working order. In addition, there must be fire blankets in crucial spots.
- Write a list of emergency contacts, laminate the list, and place it near the phone for easy access.
Besides these tips, consider installing a security system in the senior’s house. Unfortunately, seniors face many burglary threats during the pandemic from criminals who consider them easy targets. A camera installed on the door can enhance security.
Consider installing a camera on the backdoor and garage too. Motion detector lights are also critical because they can light up the backyard and other dimly lit areas during the night to discourage intruders. Of course, these lights can also discourage critters like raccoons and squirrels, which can tip over garbage bins and cause fall hazards.
Protect Them from Scams
Seniors face constant threats from scammers. It’s essential to educate them about oversharing information on the phone or online with strangers.
Posing as a health care official, a criminal may contact your senior and ask for confidential information. Using this private data, they will charge a health insurance program and pocket the money.
A criminal will tell a senior that they’ve won the lottery or sweepstakes. They may even send a check to con a senior. However, they’ll ask for thousands of dollars in advance for fees and taxes. Of course, the check will never clear.
Posing as their grandchild, a scammer will contact a senior and ask for a private loan. The criminal may use social media information to manipulate their target.
Many criminals take advantage of lonely seniors to target them with romance scams with fake photos, videos, and phony love messages. The fraud can go on for months. The scammer will ultimately ask for money for an emergency or plane tickets. Often, the victim doesn’t realize it’s a scam until it’s too late.
Besides educating your seniors about these scams, it’s essential to develop a strong relationship with them to protect them from scams. Call them regularly and ask them to inform you about anything suspicious. If you suspect that your senior is the target of elder fraud, contact law enforcement and their financial institution immediately.