Consider this an open letter to our faithful Amintro readers. Each month we write about embracing life to the fullest; remaining engAGED with the world around us, getting involved with our communities in various capacities, travel adventures and so much more. We do that because despite what the face in the mirror tells us (a few extra lines, perhaps a lot of gray hair) we know we’re still young at heart and there is a lot of life left to live! What has all of this got to do with TV vs. reality? If you’re a fan of the show Grace and Frankie you’ll soon make the connection and if you’re not – we highly recommend, as the “kid’s” would say – that you binge watch all 7 seasons! For now though, we’ll explain how TV and real life intersected in the happy coincidence of writing this article.

November arrives in most parts of North America with a distinct chill in the air. Even the warmer states will see temperatures drop in the evening and while the sun is still bright in the mornings, daylight savings time leads to darkness falling earlier. We start to think about longer evenings spent by the fire, snuggling under a blanket reading a good book, or binge watching Grace and Frankie! It’s the perfect time to get caught up on the antics of these four older adults who embrace their true selves later in life and despite various ups and downs, refuse to let age be the determining factor of their existence. What has Amintro thinking about a TV show in November and aging is this: November includes, on many calendars, National Community Safety and Crime Prevention month, National Seniors Safety Week and Osteoporosis Month. It sounds a bit daunting and briefly had us picturing frail, older seniors with walkers being knocked off balance by a pickpocket and breaking a bone. Depressing! Watch a few episodes of a TV show however, and we invite you to consider all the positive aspects of being an empowered, “take on the world” mature adult!

In an episode of the show devoted to Community Safety and Crime Prevention, Sol and Robert, the two main male characters, volunteer to be a part of a group of residents that band together to patrol their community as part of a self driven initiative toward crime prevention. No old and “rickety” seniors here, just two men taking their turn out patrolling the neighborhood wearing safety vests and armed with a whistle. Various antics ensue, until one, startled by a racoon, pushes the other in front of him for protection resulting in an ongoing dispute over who’s safety was more important and more at risk – over a racoon! It was a humorous look at how we all might react to a threat to our safety but we think it was also an important reminder that everyone plays a role in the safety and well-being of our communities – at any age.

What can you do to help with crime prevention in your community?

  • Keep a watchful eye out for your neighbors. Even the least “nosy” of neighbors will be somewhat familiar with the routines of those who live nearby and if you see something unusual, check in with the neighbor or report it to the police.
  • Keep your own home well-lit and/or consider motion detector lights. This will ensure not only your own safety arriving home late at night but also act as a deterrent for crimes of opportunity.
  • If you are going to be away for an extended period of time, use timer lights, pause your newspaper subscriptions, arrange for a neighbor to cut the grass, shovel the snow or pick up flyers so your home looks occupied. Do the same for them when it’s their turn to travel.
  • Install security features if it is within your budget and if not, some resourceful folks will still post stickers on windows warning of security features on the premises.
  • Consider becoming a member, or starting a Neighborhood Watch program in your own community. Local police are always happy to meet with vested community members to share advice, tips and tools on how to keep everyone in the community safe. They might not recommend walking outdoors with safety vests and whistles confronting dangerous raccoons but they WILL provide solid advice on how neighbors can work together to prevent crime, particularly crimes of opportunity.
  • You might wish to alter the physical surroundings of your home as necessary, perhaps trimming overgrown trees and shrubs that might impede the view of your front door. This is an added safety feature not just for crime prevention but also for reducing the risk of trip and falls. We know you’re not “old” but accidents can happen at any age.
  • While we don’t recall an episode of the show dealing with this topic – other important safety considerations for seniors include managing our online interactions safely. Here are just a few quick and easy tips:
    • Keep your online interactions safe first and foremost by limiting what you share online in the first place!
    • Use secure, encrypted websites (hint, look for a padlock.)
    • Initiate calls and/or online interactions yourself. Banks and other major institutions won’t call you and ask for your identification or credit card, SIN and other information. YOU are in charge of your online interactions, don’t let others ask you to log in or provide your data to them.
    • Make sure all of your apps and online tools are up to date and safety encrypted using a recognized software tool. Delete any old email addresses you don’t use and ensure online social media profiles are secure to help prevent identity theft.

Finally, back to our Grace and Frankie theme we couldn’t resist commenting on another  coincidence of timing between the show and real life, this time featuring the two lead females on a drug-running adventure to Mexico coinciding with November being Osteoporosis month. Now, before we get started, lest you think Aminto is encouraging drug use and/or drug smuggling, let’s be clear that we are doing NO SUCH THING! The show is fiction after all. What we love about it however is that Grace and Frankie both embrace older adulthood “like nobody’s business.” Discovering that their friend needs a prescription for “Bonida,” (a fake drug simply for the show’s purposes but thought to be a reference to Boniva, an osteoporosis drug) the two climb in the car and head to Mexico to smuggle large amounts of the drug back to California. Their plan is to supply the residents of their friend’s nursing home with the drug because it’s working for them to manage their symptoms but is no longer available. If you don’t have a sense of what the show is like already, you can imagine the antics that ensue as they attempt to cross the border, somehow also get involved in smuggling another drug and meet a few nefarious characters along the way. These two adventurers are doing what they feel needs to be done to support their friends in need and age is NOT a deciding factor in determining their course of action!

Amintro is all about friends and let’s “be real,” friends do any number of things to support one another. You might not walk the streets on patrol but you can support your friends and neighbors in other ways like those we’ve described. You might not smuggle drugs (and for the record, nor should you!) but friends might support friends by picking up prescriptions from the local pharmacy to help one another out. Friends traveling together keep an eye out for one another as they tour the world and friends at home keep an eye on each other’s homes. Friends are people we willingly climb in the car with to head off on adventures much like Grace and Frankie do. If you’re looking for new friends to plan new adventures with, consider Amintro as your “go to” source to connect with other adults 50+ “who share your interests, hobbies and aspirations.”