Power outages can be stressful under the best of circumstances, but when caring for an elderly loved-one it is especially important to know that things are well prepared, and care needs can be met in case of an emergency.
In the event of a long-term power outage, during which adjustments need to be made to carry on with various aspects of everyday life and care, having a plan is imperative. The following are some factors to consider for setting up a plan that works for you and your loved ones.
A major factor when the power is out is the lack of light on dark days, and of course after the sun goes down. For seniors, not being able to see properly can be extremely dangerous resulting in falls and injuries. Having effective and safe ways to light paths around the house is critical.
Candles are always an option, but caution should be exercised to ensure that they don’t present a fire hazard and get knocked over by accident. To stay on the safe side, a great option is to have several flashlights or lanterns and an abundance of batteries to keep them all going. An important aspect of planning is to make sure these sources of light are stored in a place that is obvious and accessible.
The fact that we rely heavily on our usual sources of power means that most of us have our flashlights and candles tucked away in a closet or cupboard because they are just not needed that often. When the power does go out, no one wants to be trying to scramble to find their light sources by rummaging around in a dark house to find them. Make sure to always keep them in a convenient place, perhaps in a few in different areas around the house, where they can be easily found when they are needed.
It is always a good idea to keep a well-stocked First Aid Kit in the house. A power outage is a great example of an instance when it might be necessary. Having everything centralized in one location helps when searching to find a health product quickly. These kits should always be kept stocked with standard bandages, tape, scissors, gauze, disinfectant, etc. Having extra medication such as painkillers, or extra prescription medications on hand is also good planning. Should an injury or accident occur, having a First Aid Kit ready to go helps address the issue quickly and effectively while waiting for further medical assistance.
A lack of electricity can make cooking and eating much more challenging. While some people have gas stoves and can still do a fair amount of cooking, many people lose the ability to heat and cook food entirely when the power goes out. On top of that, losing the power to the refrigerator presents the risk of food going bad and becoming inedible. Having a good stockpile of canned and prepared foods with a long shelf-life is a good idea.
Food products that do not require heating, cooling, or preparing can help ensure that seniors have a substantial amount of food to eat in the event of a power outage. It is often wise to plan to have enough of these types of foods to last about a week, which should be more than enough to deal with a lengthy outage.
Keeping up to date with information about the status of the power outage can help keep people informed and aware of what is going on and what to expect. Not knowing can be one of the most stressful parts of a power outage, which generally only makes the situation worse. Keeping the contact information for the power company close at hand makes it easier to stay notified. Using a cellphone or checking the internet for updates can help provide insight into when the power might come back on which allows for planning and rationing if necessary.
With all the technologies that we rely on nowadays, it can be stressful and isolating to go without all those things at once. For things like laptops and cellphones that act as a primary link to the outside world, it can be super handy to have some portable storage banks fully charged and ready to go. This can provide seniors with the ability to contact other people and stay in the know. These little backup chargers are helpful to have in general for excursions out of the house too, but having some set aside in the house that are always fully charged provides a backup source of power when needed.
Power outages can be scary for all of us, but much like many things in life, being prepared can make all the difference. Talking to your senior loved ones and caregivers about creating a plan and setting up the home in a way that makes everyone feel comfortable and prepared can make a big difference in how everyone feels when the power does go out. This type of peace of mind helps reduce panic and stress in emergency situations.