After my grandfather's death, my grandmother spent several days fretting about her safety in the now-empty house. My brother and I went out to see what we could do, and after changing all the locks and installing deadbolts on all the doors, I sat down with her to have a little chat (condensed and abbreviated here):
"Do you have a gun?"
"Yes, but I'm terrified of it."
"Your gramps got it several years ago at a gun show and took me out to the woods to shoot it, but it was so loud I didn't want anything to do with it. I wish I knew how to shoot it, but I'm scared to try it. I want to know how to protect myself."
"Do you trust me? Do you trust that I won't give you any bad information, and that I won't tell you anything that will hurt you?"
"Yes, I believe that."
"OK, I'm going to Wal-Mart, and then we're going to shoot that gun."
I bought her a pair of pink headphones and a package of foam earplugs. The cashier at Wal-Mart smiled at the headphones and asked if they were for a girl. I smiled back and said "yep!"
"How old is she?"
The guy in front of me in line burst out laughing and told me how awesome that was.
Back at Grandma's, I had her remove her hearing aids, put in the plugs, and then put on the headphones (a tight fit over her curlers!). I figured double hearing protection would help the most with her fear of the loud noise. Now, with me shouting instructions to her from behind her shoulder, she shot not only a little .22, but also a 9mm and a .45 ACP.
She had some trouble with the slides, but I didn't happen to have a revolver to let her shoot, so we went with what we had. Ideally, I'd like to see her with a nice 3 or 4 inch steel framed .38, not because that's what "women are supposed to shoot", but because a revolver probably makes the most sense with her arthritis.
An hour later she walked away grinning, empowered, and talking about how much fun she had. She promised to practice when she could, and was glad to have had the opportunity to learn that her fears could be managed.
I love it when a plan comes together.