Page last updated at 18:12 GMT, Thursday, 26 November 2009

Family Focus: Protecting the elderly

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Sandra Foreman from Portadown talks about the impact of a burglary on her home.

Older people are not usually the victims of crime in Northern Ireland, according to statistics.

The NI Crime Survey suggests that fewer than 1% of people over the age of 60 were victims of violent crime in Northern Ireland in 2007/2008.

But it is the fear of crime which has the biggest impact on the lives of the elderly.

In Family Focus, we look at the steps elderly people can take to help protect themselves against break-ins.


Sarah Travers talks to Portadown woman Sandra Foreman, whose home was targeted while she was at church.

"They had been everywhere in the house, every room," she said.

"They had been in drawers and cupboards and in our bedroom you couldn't walk on the floor for clothes and things that they just had tipped out all over the place. It was terrible."

The pensioner and her husband, Brian, have now stepped up the security in their home.

Also on the programme, Sarah talks to Anne O'Reilly from the charity, Age Concern Help the Aged NI about how to lower the risk of burglary.

Charity's advice for pensioners:

  • always lock outside doors and close the windows even if you are going out for a short time
  • do not give keys to people you do not know well, but keep a spare set with a person you trust
  • do not leave spare keys in obvious places such as under a doormat or hanging in your letterbox
  • keep valuables out of sight
  • always use a door-viewer if possible
  • If there is a door chain, use it before opening the door
  • Check the caller's identity carefully
  • If in any doubt, contact a family member, friend or the police immediately.


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