Recently I was in a line of vehicles pulling up to get my donut and coffee. I noticed something suspicious and focused more carefully on the stranger pulling paper out of the garbage. What was he doing? He was carefully checking out receipts, looking for personal information that might have been discarded. When I gave him “the evil eye,” he quickly turned and ran off. This caught me off guard but I it reminded me of another incident in the recycling room of a senior client’s condo building just a month before. Again, I just “happened” upon a woman going through paper looking for personal information. When she noticed me watching, she quickly scurried off!
In all this chaos, we found safety.
When seniors are downsizing, they often carelessly discard older paperwork. Many put the paper in a recycle container. DO NOT DISCARD PERSONAL INFORMATION. Either take the time to remove your name and other information, use a shredder or take it to a professional shredder. When my mom died in California, we took the time to shred 51 large garbage bags of paper. Much of the paper had been records from a business that had been running for several years. We did not feel comfortable risking that information might be retrieved and used illegally.
We use a simple inexpensive electric shredder that you can sit upon a waste basket
An elderly lady we worked with this week had just become a widow and she was getting numerous calls where they just hung up when she answered the phone. Having call display on your phone will show you the number of the person calling. If it’s not on your list of familiar numbers DON’T ANSWER IT! They can always leave a message. Bonus! Telemarketers don’t leave messages.
Then someone would ring the doorbell and by the time she looked out the window, they were gone. (She didn’t have a security system or camera at her door.) Again this happened numerous times and she no longer felt safe in her own home. She felt she had to move and sold her home.
If anyone you don’t know or trust rings your doorbell , do not let them into your home, condo or apartment. Note: A safety chain on your door would allow you to open it just enough to see who is there.
You might laugh at this. We had a poodle and when a service provider or delivery person would come to our door, I would say “Please wait a minute while I put the dog away. I don’t trust her with strangers.” When I was alone and a sales person came to the door, I’d say, “I’m not going to disturb my son as I know he wouldn’t be interested” This gave the impression that I was not home alone.
When looking for a new residence choose a “safe” community that’s preferably not in decline. You don’t want to live in an area where there are frequent crimes or other issues that would be unsettling to you. Is it an area where you would feel safe to walk or drive?
Is the building secure? How do you and others access the building? Some buildings have a security person. Others have a camera so you can see who is in the entrance if you turn your TV on the proper channel.
It is wise to always be aware of your surroundings and any potential threats to your safety.
For more tips and advice read our book “The Best of the Rest – Downsizing for Boomers and Seniors.”