If you live in California, then controlled power outages by utility companies are becoming a fairly regular occurrence. Losing power is an inconvenience for most of us. It may cause us to lose access to the internet or even have to temporarily relocate. A power outage for a senior citizen who lives alone can be a very different story. Precautions must be taken. Many seniors rely on electricity for more than just their television. They may have an oxygen machine (or other medical equipment that runs on electricity). There needs to be a source of backup power to keep the senior safe and not scared.
A senior who lives alone during a power outage, can be isolated. If they live on a second or third floor of an apartment building and the elevators stop working, they will be unable to get out of their home. This is especially true if that person is wheelchair-bound. If you have a loved one who has a living situation such as this, it is imperative that you check in on them and make sure they are safe and can leave their home if necessary. An evacuation plan is a must!
During power outages, cell phones will need to be charged. Additionally, cell towers may be down. If a senior does not have a landline, a backup power source is vital.
Something else to keep in mind is that a senior with an impaired memory is even more at risk at times of power loss. They can become very confused and fearful. It will be dark and not know what to do. They could go outside in very dangerous conditions.
The best way to prevent panic and protect seniors is by being prepared. There are lists provided by utility companies as to what should be in a person’s home in times of power loss. Flashlights should be easily accessible and batteries should be replaced every six months. Water and non-perishable food should be available and again, easily accessed by the senior. A medical alert necklace or bracelet is a great safety device (as long as the phone and internet are working).
The best way to ensure the safety of your loved one(s), is to check in on them regularly and make sure they are not alone as much as possible the power loss. We must watch out for our seniors! Let us know if Indecare can be of any help with your loved one.