Elderly Care Resources: Senior Shopping Safety

Elderly Care Resources: Senior Shopping Safety

 

This blog was spurred by recent events in our local grocery store that effected many senior citizens while shopping. We felt that sharing was important, bringing light to the new ways people are continually taking advantage of the elderly. Senior shopping safety is an important topic as thieves are getting bolder and more daring by the day. Purse snatching and in-street (parking lots included) robberies are one of the most common crimes against the elderly population. Crime prevention for the elderly needs to be made the public’s job. We all need to do better watching out for each other.

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As I entered the grocery store to do my weekly shopping this past Friday, it seemed a bit busier than normal but just a normal almost-Spring day. Living close to numerous senior communities, the store is often filled with the smiles of the elderly, many of whom we chat with regularly. As I headed down the first aisles, I noted a man that seemed out-of-place entirely too close to an elderly woman who was perusing the juices. I thought I saw him touch her purse. Watching harder, he left the aisle, and she seemed okay. I shrugged it off. A few aisles later, there he was again, and his hand again touched an unsuspecting woman’s purse. As I was fifty feet from him, and he walked towards me, his hand dipped into another purse; however, this time our eyes met. He retracted his hand quickly and headed towards me down the aisle.

“Do you have a quarter?” He asked attempting to change the reality of the situation. He had no cart. He never did. No items. No basket with groceries. He wore gang colors, and had his cell phone out, idling all too close to anyone who he tried to communicate or interact with. He was getting too close to me. He had all of the signs and gave off all of those feels; the ones that tell you to run. I should have known, and I should have immediately done what was coming next. I loudly verbalized he needed to get away from me and abandoned my cart to hurriedly find management. Security swung in to full force very quickly, and this purse-pocketer was ushered into whatever dungeon they use to confine until law enforcement arrives. I stayed long enough to give my statement and continued on with my day. (I am sure it wasn’t a dungeon, but I told myself that anyway to ease some stress.)

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As I thought back on the day, I realized that many of the seniors I passed in the store aisles had their open purses in their cart, while they shopped with their backs turned. I noted some were counting their paper money with their wallets open, exposing the shiny credit cards in the high-bean grocery store lights. Their conversations usually sounded of their social security troubles and medical woes. I remembered back when my Grandmas were alive and nodded to myself a little. One would be talking openly about how much money she withdrew and had on her from the bank when the teenage neighbors came over. She never locked her door, either. The other was no better, participating in dozens of “fake” “charities” for years before anyone noticed. Myself included.

In this day and age, it’s best to be safer than sorry, and take all of the proper precautions necessary to keep yourself safe. There are so many things in this world and things can get confusing. Here are a list of helpful tips and suggestions to keep yourself safe when you are out shopping.

  • Just because a person smiles does not mean they are safe.
  • When shopping in public, make sure your feet and shoes are dry. Grocery store floors are very slippery when wet.
  • Do not open your wallet and expose money in public places.
  • Do not discuss money or banking loudly in public.
  • Do not shop at night, or be out late in the dark, by yourself. Go with a friend or family member.
  • When in public, keep your purse or fanny pack in front of you at your belly. This allows you to wrap your arms around it where ever you are. If your purse is not comfortable or equipped for this, consider a cross-chest style bag for easier carrying comfort.
  • Do not leave your purse in the shopping cart when you are shopping.
  • If you must leave your purse in your cart, consider buckling it in to the child locking seat belt, zipping your purse completely. This places another level of work for any thief to accomplish before getting anything from your purse.
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  • When leaving the store and heading to your vehicle, if you feel suspicious or afraid of someone in the parking lot that might be watching you, following you, or moving towards you; make sure to get a store employee to walk you to your car, and see you on your way.
  • Do not answer the phone if you do not recognize the caller ID or phone number.
  • Do not participate in mail “charities” and “donation” requests. If there is one you are interested in, consider having a family member verify they are leading a valid cause. Never agree to something like this while out shopping. Wait until you can research it for yourself.
  • Do not loan money to strangers or neighbors or people on the street.
  • Do not carry extra cash. Just take what you need.

Remember, being aware and paying attention in every situation is key. Know your surroundings and pay attention to your personal bubble. No one should be entering your personal bubble except your doctors, family members, and people you trust. If you are out shopping and something like this happens, find someone in management or law enforcement and report the issue immediately.

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