Course Title: Personal Safety—Top Ten Tips

The headlines were alarming: ’95-year-old purse snatching victim suffers minor injuries to her arm.’  This recently happened just up the street from our home.  The community was stunned — how could this happen here?    A valued neighbour, as well as our sense of safety and civility, had been violated.

The fear of crime is a big concern for seniors.  While seniors are in the age group least likely to experience crime, when they are victimized, the results can be even more devastating.  Seniors have less time to recover from financial loss and may take more time to heal from physical assaults.  Furthermore, the fear of crime can be isolating, leading to less community engagement and a diminished sense of the quality of life.

In previous articles, we provided travel safety and fraud prevention tips.  Today, we’ll offer some ideas about how you can enhance your personal safety — regardless of your age.

Top 10 Personal Safety Tips

  1. Be aware of your surroundings — notice who is entering the area around you, and trust your instincts if you feel something is not right.
  2. Choose purses and bags with cross-body straps, and keep your money and valuables in a zippered pouch next to your body where you have control.
  3. Keep change in your pockets, so that you can pay parking meters, transit, and drop money into charity kettles etc.  without having to open your wallet in public.
  4. Choose well lit streets with traffic, and avoid dark or isolated entrances and alleyways.
  5. If you think someone is paying too much attention to you, pop into a store front or cross the street.
  6. Plan your route ahead of time, and walk with confidence and purpose.
  7. If using an ATM machine and you feel uncomfortable, either leave or invite the person to go ahead of you so they can leave before you attempt your transaction.
  8. Carry a personal alarm or whistle where you can easily get at it.
  9. If a purse or bag is stolen, the perpetrator could have access to your home address — so carry your keys and personal id in your pocket.
  10. Abandon your need to be polite.  If someone is too close for comfort, tell them firmly to move away.

Although seniors are generally at lower risk for falling victim to crimes, they unfortunately are the most likely age group to experience purse snatching.  Our story at the beginning of this article had a good ending.  Good Samaritans who witnessed the purse snatching chased after the perpetrator, wrestled him to the ground and held him until the police arrived.  Although the police do not recommend ever putting yourself in danger to pursue an offender, they were grateful for the support.  Most importantly, our neighbour is healing.

Rhonda Latreille, MBA, CPCA

Founder & CEO

Age-Friendly Business


Chocolate Almond Bites

Makes 10 bites, Prep 15 min., Cook 1 min. These little nuggets of tastiness are perfect to enjoy with coffee and share with a loved one.


  • 4 Medjool dates, pitted and chopped
  • 1/4 cup (50 mL) water
  • 1 cup (250 mL) canned no salt added black beans, drained and rinsed well
  • 2 tbsp (25 mL) natural almond or peanut butter
  • 3 tbsp (45 mL) unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 oz (30 g) bittersweet 70% cocoa chocolate, melted
  • 1/2 tsp (2 mL) vanilla extract
  • 3 tbsp (45 mL) ground almonds

Directions – In a microwaveable bowl combine dates and water; cover and microwave on High for 1 minute or until softened and water is absorbed. Scrape mixture and beans into food processor with almond butter and cocoa powder. Puree until very smooth; stopping and scraping down sides a couple of times. Scrape mixture into a bowl and stir in chocolate and vanilla. Chill in refrigerator for about 45 minutes or until slightly firm. Using a mini ice cream scoop or tablespoon, roll into balls and place on small baking sheet. Roll into ground almonds and keep refrigerated.

Nutritional Information Per Serving (1 bite) – Calories 47, Protein 1 g, Total Fat 2 g, Saturated fat 1 g, Cholesterol 0 mg, Carbohydrates 7 g, Fibre 2 g, Total sugars 4 g, Added sugars 0 g, Sodium 2 mg, Potassium 101 mg.

Recipe developed by Emily Richards, PH Ec. ©Heart and Stroke Foundation 2016.


Good Samaritan

“Be nice to people… maybe it’ll be unappreciated, unreciprocated, or ignored, but spread the love anyway. We rise by lifting others.”

Germany Kent