FEAR OF CRIME IN OLDER ADULTS: RESULTS OF THREE STUDIES
Ranzijn, R. and Howells, K., University of South Australia, Australia
Publicity about 'home invasions' since 1999 has raised fear of crime as an issue in the minds of many older adults and policy-makers in Adelaide, South Australia. The premise behind this series of studies is that crime makes older people feel unsafe and may be a factor in causing them to seek supported accommodation rather than remain independent in their own homes, hence it is important to investigate this phenomenon for its prevalence and impact and to suggest appropriate policy responses. This paper reports on a series of three inter-related studies. The first looked at theories of fear of crime and measured factors influencing fear of crime in young-old and old-old adults, since 'older adults' are not a homogeneous group. The second study compared fear of crime in older adults compared to younger age- groups. The third study investigated the role of fear of crime in the relocation decisions of frail older adults. Findings included: older adults are no more fearful than younger, but the consequences are more severe; fear of crime is confounded with fear of falling and injury; and improving physical self-efficacy and encouraging healthy ageing may reduce fear of crime in older adults.