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Maine Elderly: Don’t Be Targeted

“This is just unheard of,” said Jill Child, resident service coordinator at Oak Park Apartments, an elderly housing complex in Lewiston, Maine.  She was referring, of course, to Edith Ryder.

Edith Ryder, feeling safe and secure in the hallway of her apartment complex, was robbed in the middle of the day by a young man who simply walked up to her, took her wallet from her walker, and headed out a side door.  According to a reporter for the Lewiston Sun Journal Edith Ryder was robbed of $40 dollars, her bank card, her social security card, Medicare card and MaineCare card.

The Lewiston Police will track down the thief, the bank will stop payment on any charges on that ATM card, and the Courts will send the low-life, petty crimianl where he belongs.  But what can be done to make sure that this doesn’t happen to others in Edith Ryder’s situation?

Here are some practical safety tips for the elderly living alone, even living alone in a senior housing facility like Lewiston’s Oak Park Apartments:

  1. If you’re not going to the bank, leave your bank card in your apartment.
  2. Unless you know you will need to show an original of your Medicare/MaineCare or other insurance card, bring only a photocopy of your Medicare card with you if you want the safety of having that number with you in case of an emergency.   Leave the “orginal” of your social security, Medicare/MaineCare cards in a safe place in your apartment or home.  Make sure a reliable relative or friend knows the location of the originals.
  3. Keep your cell phone handly.  If approached by stranger, pick up your phone, and act as if you are starting to dial.   You might make a thief think twice if you talk into the cell phone as if you are having a conversation with someone and mention that you have been approached.
  4. Hire any help only from well known organizations or businesses, and have their references checked.
  5. Get together with your friends and family and approach your building owner.  See what it would take to have security cameras in the public areas of your building.  It could be a life saver.

As a wise man once said:  “I grow old learning something new everyday.

Alison Wholey Briggs Mynick, RN, Esq.

Copyright 2010: Briggs & Wholey, LLC

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