All right, getting back into it. I have some down time before I head back overseas so lets see if I can knock out a few topics!
Our next item (getting back to the agenda...sort of) deals with the seasoned individual and the challenges they may face. Now, when I say seasoned I'm talking 50 and above...and before I get a backlash I realize that 50 is not old! But late 40's and early 50's is when health problems start to manifest themselves for a lot of people so I feel this is where we should start since your health definitely effects the tools you have available with which to protect yourself. I was originally going to break this up into male and female, but as I started writing I realized there wasn't much difference between the two so I combined them.
First and foremost, be honest with yourself! What is wrong with you right now that will limit your ability to protect yourself? (Keep in mind, your answers to this question may also directly relate to your ability to use deadly force. You are justified to use deadly force when you feel that your life is in danger, and in your 20's, you may have been able to take a beating. But now, you may have a heart condition or you may be suffering from Osteoporosis which would turn a robbery into a homicide...with YOU being the victim). If you carry a firearm, are you still able to see the sights of your weapon? You may have carried it for 40 years but now, due to your need for bifocals, you may need to change the tactics with which you employ your weapon. Above we mentioned conditions of the body that may increase the effects of a violent assault or an extremely stressful situation. Some companies and agencies require that a stress test be done on any employees deploying to a high threat environment to ensure that they are not at an elevated risk of a heart attack when placed in an abnormally stressful situation. Arthritis? How effective will your struggles be? Can you manipulate a weapon such as a pistol or knife or even Mace effectively when arthritis has hampered your ability to even make a fist? Again, be honest. The tools you used to rely on (strength, weapons, reaction time, quick thinking) may not be as sharp or accessible as they once were and by not admitting it you may be setting yourself up for serious injury or even death.
Another aspect of personal safety that needs to be addressed is accidents. We spoke of Osteoporosis above. If you are home alone and fall and are unable to reach a phone, how will you get help? Joking about old people and breaking hips may seem funny, but a broken hip is no laughing matter. In the military, a pelvic strike is considered deadly force because of the potential for serious bodily harm and/or death. A major artery, the femoral, is found on the inside of your thighs about an inch or two above where your leg meets your genital area, if you follow the natural vee. Sever one of these and you have maybe a few minutes to live. Not only that, but your hips support your whole body. We train to shoot the pelvic area in order to cause death and immediate disabling, so you can imagine you won't be doing much walking or even standing with a broken hip.
Hopefully we've got you thinking by now. There are many more examples of bad things that can happen, whether it be by direct assault or by accident, but lets now focus on how to prevent, avoid, or at least mitigate the effects such an episode will have on you.
By far, the best defense you have against any crime or accident is situational awareness. Remain cognizant of what is going on around you! Secondly, have a plan. I have already gone in depth in previous posts concerning such things as mindset, principles of security, and weapons so if you think that this post is lacking please read back.
Ok, let's talk situational awareness. If you know that you are at risk for an accident, you must remain aware of your surroundings. Set yourself up for success. Make sure that the floor is clear of debris, make sure steps are clearly marked and hand railings have been installed. Do you have a small dog or cat that runs beneath your feet? Over time, you may have amassed a little wealth and enjoy nice cars and jewelry. Realize that a thief may identify you as a soft (easy) target because of your age or your inability to fight back, and giving off the appearance of having money may not be such a wise choice depending upon your environment. Also, be aware of possible scams. Door-to-door salesman should be immediately and firmly sent on their way, bearing in mind that you do NOT have to open the door to talk to them. At best they are selling needless products, at worst, they are criminals casing your house. This is in no way a complete list, but the point is to get you thinking. The internet is another area in which you need to be aware. I strongly suggest you do some major reading, talk to a family member or friend who is active on the internet, or take an internet course (go through a reputable source, such as a tech college or some other accredited organization) because you could compromise a lot of your personal information, as well as others, if you do not adhere to good internet practices and have at least some idea of the threats out there, including internet scams.
Having a plan is essential in order to effectively deal with situations that will inevitably arise. Earlier, we asked the question of how you would get help if you fell. There are such tools out there like LifeAlert and ADT's Personal Emergency Response System that you should consider. Keep in mind that these tools are not confined to medical emergencies. If you feel threatened, whether inside or outside of your home, you may utilize these tools. It may not be the most effective response but at least somebody will be on the way to help you. Cell phones. Cell phones these days are almost a necessity. You don't have to have some fancy phone, just something that you can use anywhere to call for help. A home security system is always a good idea. If you can't move very quickly and you have a fire in your house, how will you get out? Are you on the first or second floor? Should you install more smoke detectors? A sprinkler system? Modify your bedroom window in order to make it easier to get out of?
The above should be a good start to an effective plan. I'm going to keep stressing that this post is intended to get you thinking as opposed to cover all contingencies. As we get older, our bodies do become weaker and we have to accept that and plan for it, regardless of how much it hurts our pride.
I hope this has helped in some way, and as always, if you have any questions do not hesitate!