So sorry to hear about your father, and about the break in at their home. How is the homes exterior lit? Some suggestions would be to install nice new and sensitive motion lights, nice bright big lights from Home Depot should do well to illuminate the home. Some spaced apart LED solar lights in planting beds, or in the grassy areas in the front are good, as well the back yard. Planting large rose bushes at all the windows is good too, its what we've done. Where was the POE? As was said, make the home as unappealing and difficult to force entry. Did it appear as though this was random? Or did they know your mother was leaving for the hospital? Alarm?
A fire arm is a great idea, but not the only. And as again, was stated, is she willing to take a life? Some say yes half heartedly, but when it comes down to pointing, and actually doing the deed, shooting another person can seriously hinder a persons decision to defend themselves. Its ok, its never a light action, when you have to extinguish someone elses life, not everyone CAN do it in that moment. Escape>FIGHT. If one cant withdraw to a safer place and or escape, then fight. But even then, when cornered some people, just can't bring themselves to pull the trigger, even with lots of target practice. I think a 22 is fine for just going to the range for the first few times, and just getting the feel and hang of things, but after that, I believe a 9mm handgun is her best fall back bet, but a shotgun again as was stated is a better home defense weapon, 00 should put down anything really coming through ones door. But they kick fairly hard, you may want to try low recoil federal work uses standard and lr shells, so its not a big difference, ones just less power/slower. You mentioned shes not very strong? I suggest just smaller sets of weights from say, target? The nicely neon colored kind? 5 pounds on light to warm up, and 10 pounds to do work. She needs to strengthen up a bit, so she can handle herself, and handle her fire arms better IF she goes that route. Will also do her some good
I promise. Maybe be her walking buddy on some days, and lift weights with her other days? Nice long powering walks starting low, then working up length, then eventually quicker paces, will help with her endurance. A fire arm isn't a stop gap, a great equalizer in terms of a tool, but a tool none the less, after she does a little bit of work on herself, just for health reasons and help make her a little bit stronger, and after some play range time to get her eased into shooting a little, I suggest she take competent instruction at the range.
After my brother in law passed away, his mother got fairly ill, her husband then passed away after battling cancer. She was alone. After her home was burglarized and they took the husbands bike, his tools, his jackets, and military items from when he served, and took everything else of value, she thought a fire arm was a great idea too. She is a 5 foot 2 in standing lady, light hearted, very very kind, but fairly frail. Personally I couldn't train her due to my actual full time job, so I turned her to a friend of mine who was able to in just casual passing help her gain back some muscle in about 5 months, just a tad bit. At 58 she had trouble doing a flight of stairs, and in 5 months only took stairs instead of elevators. She put only a very marginal amount of work. And it paid off. Of course she had to eat a bit more chicken, and beef to gain and maintain that muscle lol. But she did it. She originally had tried to shoot a 357, and it kicked so hard at the time she put it down and said NUH UH! and left the range lol. 5 months later, she fired it again, and she could swear it wasn't the same gun. Yet it was. She originally was going to go for a small light weight smithy, but after shooting a few guns she decided she wanted neither light, nor small and tiny. So she went with a Glock 19. After much training at the range she decided to take a few other classes, think along the lines of tactical. Just with a few family friends. Times passed and she now has 2 17's a 19, an 870 long nose woodie she loves to shoot clays lol. Shes saving for a 870 tac with the ghost rings. Her play rifle she just got during black friday time, is a Daniel Defense M4v4? I think? Shes really gotten into things, she wants to take classes with James Yeager, Clint Smith, and a few other folks.
Its never to late to get something going. Who knows, your mom may really love things. But as was mentioned, does she have it in her to take another life to protect her own, and others? You have to have a long minded sit down, and just talk. Easy like and into that convo, because if it comes down to it, when or if the time comes, she'll have to deal with it in that moment, I found it helps if you talk to them nice and long about everything, dealing with L.E. and etc events after is bareable, but what weighs heavy on someone, is when you put another person down, it sounds like an animal. But...its life changing. I look at my loved ones differently, and everyone else I know. Their lives are so precious to me, as is my own. I know what I mean to other people, so being able to protect myself to keep myself in their lives is important to.
God bless you and your family in this trying time. As Bon said best role for you is a cheerleader and coach, maybe also help point her in the right directions :P