Personal Safety

  • Be aware of the risks of living with a person who is a substance abuser or has a history of violence. Have a plan to keep yourself safe, and explore different housing options available to you.
  • Keep in touch with your friends.
  • Keep control of your own phone.
  • Open and post your own mail.

Safety Tips for Automatic Teller Machine (ATM) Use

  • Do not allow anyone else to use your ATM card.
  • Cancel your ATM card if you do not use it.
  • Do not give anyone your Personal Identification Number (PIN).
  • Do not use an easily detectable PIN (for example, a birth date or Social Security number).
  • Ask your bank about benefits of periodically changing your PIN number.
  • Do not use the preauthorized PIN number– change the number to something only you would know.
  • Do not carry the written PIN number with the ATM card – place the written number in a secure location other than on your person.
  • Check bank statements carefully for unauthorized withdrawals.
  • Be cautious using an ATM at night.
  • Do not use a badly lit ATM. This is a danger sign because they are designed to be brightly lit for your safety. Report the situation to your bank.
  • Be aware of people around you as you use the ATM – do not let them watch you enter your PIN number.
  • Put your money away safely before exiting the ATM area.
  • Look around as you exit the ATM area. Do not leave if you do not feel safe.
  • Do not open the door of the ATM area to anyone without a card.
  • Avoid ATM machines that are not enclosed, or inside, or that you cannot access via your vehicle.

Questions about proper ATM usage and safety should be directed to your local bank.

Planning Ahead

  • Establish relationships with personnel at your bank.
  • Develop friendships with people of various ages to help you maintain a strong support network.
  • Become familiar with resources in the community designed to help older people and their families.
  • Be careful when executing a Power of Attorney that will grant financial decision-making power to a trusted friend, relative or attorney. Know the person to whom you are granting this authority. A Power of Attorney can be as limited or as broadly defined as you wish, and can be revoked at any time. The specific ‘powers’ given to this person should be detailed in writing. Give your bank a copy.
  • Consider a Durable Power of Attorney that will remain in effect even if you become incapacitated.
  • Consider a Trust, a legal arrangement where a person or financial institution manages assets for you.
  • Put all financial instructions in writing, and BE SPECIFIC.
  • Keep accurate and complete financial records of all transactions.
  • Gather all important documents together, such as wills, insurance policies and bank account information. Inform someone that you trust where these documents are kept.
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