Isolation can be Deadly
As Nemo roared up the East Coast, I’m thought a great deal about the number of elderly people who are living independently, or aging in place. In the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy it became apparent that there were many seniors living alone that local senior service agencies were completely unaware of.
Many of these people have mobility and cognitive issues that make living alone dangerous in the best of circumstances, let alone when we are facing a major storm such as this. According to the U.S. Census, more than half of women, age 85 and older, live alone. Even more disturbing, the Alzheimer’s Association reports that one out of every seven Americans with Alzheimer’s lives alone.
My mom and dad (who suffers from Alzheimer’s) live about 30 minutes away from me. I made sure they had informed the police department that my father had Alzheimer’s and, in the event of an emergency, they should be at the top of the list to receive help. I also made sure they had contacted someone to plow their driveway (otherwise my mother would have most certainly tried to snow blow it herself!) I reminded them to fill their car with gas, get extra food in the house and make sure they had extra batteries. They are good friends with their neighbor who always takes the time to check in after a major storm.
What is amazing to me is how many elderly people don’t have family willing to look in on them. They are the ones I truly worry about.
If you have an elderly neighbor or you want to be sure your parents are safe, here are a few other things to point out:
– Remind them to be careful of where they position a space heater
– Keep a File of Life posted on the refrigerator so emergency responders are aware of any medications or physical issues the person might have
– Make sure they have a phone that can be pre-programmed with emergency numbers.
The VTech CareLine Home Safety Telephone System has large buttons and four buttons that can be pre-programmed and hold photos for easier dialing
– Get a refill on their prescriptions if they’re running low in case they can’t get out for several days
– Make sure they have a well stocked emergency kit with a lantern, batteries, non-perishable food and a battery operated radio.
I wrote this blog post while participating in a campaign by BOOMboxNetwork.com on behalf VTech Communications, Inc. and received payment for my participation. All opinions stated within are my own.