Some senior citizens feel like prisoners in their own homes, too afraid to venture out in the community due to ongoing crime in the Northern Territory.
That is according to Palmerston Councillor Sarah Henderson, who says many elderly residents are too worried about their safety they forgo daily activities.
“They won’t even go for a walk anymore so they’re not exercising because they’re scared of being attacked,” Cr Henderson says.
“There’s quite a few of them that I take shopping, and if I didn’t they just wouldn’t go because they can’t use the internet to work out how to order it online.”
Cr Henderson says seniors are also “terrified” about using public transport, fearing they will get nagged for money or attacked.
“Sitting around waiting for a bus at a bus stop is horrific.”
“Most of them just stay away from them completely because they’re just too dangerous for them.”
The Councillor says she had a frightening ordeal herself when leaving a local shopping centre.
“I had a fella try to take the handbag off my shoulder.”
“I’m strong enough that I used my knee in an appropriate place.”
While she was able to get away unscathed, she says it’s not always the case for others and it’s taking a massive toll on retirees.
“So many of our seniors have just worked hard all their lives and paid taxes in the Territory and now they are just terrified to go out of their house.”
“They’ve retired here because the Territory was their home and a lot of their children have moved interstate for careers and things so they’re by themselves apart from friends that they’ve had around.”
For some that fear is forcing them to leave the Territory.
“One lady said if I can’t go for a walk in the afternoon, I don’t want to live here anymore,” Cr Henderson says.
“There are so many of them that have now left the Territory because they just can’t live here any longer, which is sad.”
Cr Henderson says she is keen to come up with a way to connect vulnerable residents with other Territorians who can safely take them on outings.
“[Perhaps something] where [seniors] they can call and say we need people to walk with them or take them shopping, something like that.”
She is also pushing for more free activities for seniors to help them build social connections.
“So that they’ve got a support system, so that they have other people that could go shopping with them or go out.”