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Changing Neighborhoods Can Jeopardize Senior Safety

Seniors often want to live in the same house they have called home for decades.

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Aging in place is a concept that many older adults embrace. Seniors often want to live in the same house they have called home for decades. But many issues can jeopardize the safety of older adults. One of those is changing neighborhoods.

Q. My 79-year-old father still lives in the house that my siblings and I grew up in. When I visit I notice that nearby properties are not being maintained, and the crime rate in the neighborhood is up. Should I be concerned about dad's safety and encourage him to move?

Your dad like many seniors wants to remain in the same house full of memories where he raised his children. But yet, it's not as common for many others to live in the same home for their entire lives, which leads to changing neighborhoods like that of your father's.

Are any other long-time homeowners still in the area and, if so, could you discuss your concerns with them? They could possibly shed some light on the changing complexion of your dad's neighborhood. Is there a neighborhood association? If so, why not attend a meeting and discuss your safety concerns.

If not, talk with several neighbors and organize a meeting at a local library or restaurant. Invite the council man or woman from the neighborhood as well as a local police officer. You might be surprised that others have similar concerns. When city officials see the concerns of everyone they may be more likely to want to step up to help.

If your father wants to stay in his home, as many seniors desire, there is action that your family could take to enhance his safety. Why not purchase an alarm system, which would give him as well as you greater peace of mind? A pet also can help alert your father as well as other neighbors to suspicious activity that may be going on in the area.

Are there relatives and friends who can check on your father regularly? Activity around his home will help keep would-be robbers and other criminal elements away from his property. Remind your dad to always lock his doors and lower the garage door.

Regular companionship could also be a safeguard. Why not encourage your dad to hire a companion? For instance, a Home Instead® office employs CAREGiversSM who could be at your dad's house at least three hours a week and up to 24 hours a day, seven days a week, to provide companionship and other non-medical senior services.

A CAREGiver, who is screened bonded and insured, could serve as a second set of eyes and ears for your dad. This person could also be someone you could talk with about your safety concerns for your father.

Last revised: February 18, 2011

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