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October 23, 2010

Seniors Learn to Prevent Attacks, Money Scams


By Leonard Sparks
10/21/10
Helen Kwasinowicz normally walks close to buildings and keeps her car doors unlocked when out shopping.
The 92-year-old is now rethinking those habits after sitting through a three-hour forum held Wednesday morning to educate Sullivan County seniors about defending themselves from physical attacks and protecting themselves from emotional abuse and financial scams.
"You take everything for granted, that everybody's honest," said Kwasinowicz, who lives in the hamlet of Willowemoc. "But they're not."
The forum, organized by TRIAD, an organization dedicated to preventing elder abuse and violence against seniors, drew about 50 seniors to the Ted Stroebel Center in Monticello. Speakers included District Attorney Jim Farrell and representatives from Cornell Cooperative Extension and Friends and Advocates for Mental Health.
"The whole point is prevention of any kind of abuse and the improvement of the quality of life," said Bonnie Lewis, coordinator of TRIAD, a program of Cornell Cooperative, in collaboration with the Sullivan County Office for the Aging.
Awareness of surroundings is the best safety strategy, said Pete Tweed, former Monticello Parks and Recreation director, during his 30-minute presentation on safety and self-defense.
Suggestions also included walking in the middle of sidewalks to avoid surprise ambushes from people hiding in alleys or between parked cars. Seniors should also lock car doors when out shopping and park in well-lit areas, he said.
Should a confrontation occur, he said, seniors should either try to talk themselves out of the situation, run or scream. Yelling "fire" is particularly effective, he said, because other people are more likely to respond.
"Some people say it's against the law," he said. "But saving your life is not against the law," he said.
He also demonstrated techniques for fighting back, all requiring little strength. They included low kicks to the knee and using thumbs to impair attackers' eyes. He also showed seniors an easy way to dislocate an assailant's wrist.
"This is important, especially to seniors who are not as agile and don't have the strength that a younger person has," said Ernest Danenberg, 89, who lives near Monticello with his wife, Thelma Flaxman, 87.



SOURCE:    The Record Online
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Any Charges Reported on this blog are Merely Accusations and the Defendants are Presumed Innocent Unless and Until Proven Guilty.

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