Do Your Aging Parents Think Like a Black Belt?
Over the holiday weekend I read the e-book Think Like A Black Belt: Take Charge of Your Personal Safety by Lori Hoeck. The author presents 15 powerful safety tips for preventing assault and dealing with an attack. It is an excellent how-to book about raising our awareness, relying on intuition, reducing vulnerability and learning emergency thinking in order to avoid becoming a target of attack by a criminal. This is not instructions on how-to-do karate or tae kwon do. It is a book about not getting into situations where we need to fight, but preparing ourselves mentally in case we do.
I grew up in New York and I jokingly refer to my “New York paranoia” when friends tease me about keeping my home doors locked during the day, or never walking out to my car alone at night from a store or restaurant. In reading this book I realized this “New York paranoia” is actually my own Inner Warrior at work.
Although most of us do not have time to train for years in karate or self defense, we all possess an Inner Warrior who simply needs awakening to prevent attack. . . . Driving is an example of your Inner Warrior at work. Survival skills honed through history allow us to monitor our environment while performing everyday tasks, instantly leaping from normal to survival mode in a flash without freezing.
At the end of each chapter, Hoeck includes talking points to discuss with our children to keep them safer. As I read however, I realized we should be talking with our aging parents about them as well. And even more importantly, if our Golden Oldies are not able to rely on their Inner Warriors due to physical or mental decline, we as family caregivers need to become more vigilant regarding their safety.
Here are a few points Hoeck raises in her book (in bold) and my responses to get you thinking about your seniors’ personal safety:
- Criminals often work from convenience, looking for easy targets. Do your aging parents appear vulnerable (preoccupied, timid, frail, confused) when they are out in public?
- Criminals also look for non-physical weaknesses to exploit. One of them is manipulating a person’s trust. If your aging parent suddenly has new “best friends” or “helpers,” be sure they are not criminals trying to worm their way into their lives, and then further into their finances or wills. This can happen very slowly and nearly imperceptibly over time, so just be aware. Seniors are at a higher risk for this type of emotional or financial abuse because they may be lonely from the death of their spouse or friends.
- Use body language like armor . . . portraying a sense of confidence . . . even if you are in a wheel chair or walking bent over with a cane. Our aging parents can exude strong body language through their eyes, voices, setting personal space boundaries, and appearing calm.
Be safe and keep your loved ones safe, too! Have you ever discussed these ideas with your aging parents?
Are there other eldercare safety concerns you have? Please share them in the Comments below.
Hoeck is a former volunteer firefighter and EMT, a third-degree black belt and senior instructor in the martial arts. If you are interested in buying her book for yourself, your children or your aging parents, you can purchase it on her website. She also authors an excellent self-defense blog, Think Like a Black Belt, with personal safety information for people of all ages.