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How to Stay Safe in Your 60s with Low-tech Safety Accessories

By Mary Lou Harris July 17, 2019 Lifestyle

Being properly prepared for our own safety is important for everyone.

For those of us over 60 years of age it’s imperative we not only stay active to maintain as much strength as possible, but that we supplement our strength with accessories, which may or may not have a bit of flash and sash to them.

From high-tech to low-tech, we all have our favorite safety accessories. We may not think of them as such and, while they are not appropriate or helpful for every situation, accessories they are.

For my lifestyle, the time I spend running the roads and the trails is when I most frequent rely on low-tech safety devices.

Whatever your lifestyle, safety accessories are not needed most of the time. However, if we have one or more of them handy, it is one less thing for you or me to be concerned about. Then, we can concentrate on the beauty of the day on the trail or enjoy the sights in the city.

So, let’s look at a few low-tech devices I have in mind to accessorize your look and your wellbeing while out and about.

The Other People (OP) Strategy

Staying with a group can be your safety accessory. Think penguins. When penguins take that leap into the water, they do so as a pack. When penguins take that dive with the pack, they are less likely to be gobbled up by a seal.

Take that swim alone and it’s nearly a sure thing that the penguin won’t be returning to the safety of shore. It’s similar for humans. If we’re with a group, the OP strategy generally works. We are less likely to be hassled, intimidated or something worse.

Alas, we are not penguins. Many of us enjoy a run or a stroll without OP. Are there times you want to see a movie or show that doesn’t appeal to friends and family? Here, the OP strategy doesn’t work. Are you in this category?

“You Know How to Whistle, Don’t You?”

In a famous quote, Lauren Bacall questions Steve, Humphrey Bogart’s character, in the classic film “To Have and Have Not.” “You know how to whistle, don’t you?” is a question that concerns us if we want to stay safe. Can you whistle when your safety is in question?

You can if you have a basic trail whistle. I have several models for the trail and wear one on a chain around my neck, tucking the whistle into my running bra. You might also attach a whistle to auto or home key chains.

Whistles can be less than a quarter inch in diameter and no more than an inch or so long, and yet make a loud, shrill sound. This is a wonderful passive device that can quickly be used if you become lost on the trail, are hurt and immobile and need help, or if you are in a dicey situation anywhere.

I’ve looked around and found that whistles now come in some elegant styles, so they don’t need to be tucked in anywhere. You can find a variety on many websites, such as

Whether you choose the practical model or the chic and beautiful one to wear on your evening out, just follow Bacall’s advice as needed, “You just put your lips together and blow.”

Carry a Big Stick

We can all listen to Teddy Roosevelt carry a big stick. There are variations of the stick that will work for your particular lifestyle. If it’s a walk in the woods, that stick or a hiking pole will suit.

The citified version of this would be a cane or a walking stick. Whether or not you need it for strength or balance, it can be handy in self-defense and also quite stylish.

The street and travel version can be one of the very elegant and decorative canes I have seen used among friends. They vary from rhinestones to animal prints to classic wood business styles.

You can find canes specifically designed for women at many retail stores or online. I haven’t taken this up as a safety accessory myself, but if it is something you use as a safety ruse, please comment on how it has worked for you.

Who Are You?

If you are hurt and can’t speak for yourself, let your identification bracelet or necklace speak for you. It won’t keep bad things from happening, but it can provide necessary information to medical or other professionals quickly.

Most outdoorsy folks will wear some form of identification that gives their name, at least one contact person and other pertinent information. is one of many companies where you can find them.

Mine is on a wrist stretch band. It is so small I sometimes forget I’m wearing it, and I can easily cover it with a larger dress bracelet.

What’s That Odor and Why Are My Eyes Burning?

Pepper spray or mace can be a safety accessory. You can find these in most sporting goods stores. Models vary from handheld to clips.

Some sprays can be considered a weapon and are not welcome everywhere. You should think twice before throwing one in your handbag when you visit certain office or government buildings, arrive for a flight or travel by any means to foreign countries.

What have you done to make your house safer? Do you have recommendations for a low-tech safety accessory? Would any of the above ideas never work for you? How do you stay safe when travelling alone? Please share your thoughts below!

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The Author

Mary Lou Harris is a proponent of active living, community volunteerism and inquisitive travel. After a post age 60 retirement from a career in public service, she expanded those interests to include ultra-trail running, hiking and extended-stay travel. She can be contacted through her website or on Twitter at @stillarunner.

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