When the power goes out in our homes, it can be stressful. When caring for an elderly loved-one, that stress can be even greater, so having plans in place that keep everyone safe is really important.
When the power goes out, it can be difficult to feel so out of control of your own space. Not knowing how long until the power is back on, and not being able to engage in the activities and aspects of routine that you are accustomed to because of the lack of electricity can create problems. When it comes to caring for seniors, there are a few extra considerations that make it especially important to have a plan and preparation in place for the event of a Power Outage so that things are all in order and there isn’t a need to frantically try and sort everything out in the moment. Depending on the cause of the Power Outage, electricity can be out anywhere from a few minutes to a few days. Setting up a plan and having things ready to go that can help to keeps things organized and manageable during a Power Outage can help to reduce everyone’s stress levels and make sure everyone is alright and knows what to do.
Preparation and Planning:
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 steps to take and things to consider for setting up a plan that works for you and your loved-ones:
- Light: A major factor when the power is out is the lack of light on dark days and when the sun goes down. For seniors, not being able to see the way properly can be very dangerous, resulting in falls and injuries, so having effective and safe ways to light paths around the house is important. Candles are always an option, but care needs to be taken to ensure that they don’t become a fire hazard and don’t get knocked over by accident. To stay on the safe side, a great option is just to have a bunch of flashlights or lanterns and an abundance of batteries to keep them all going. An important aspect of the planning is to make sure these sources of light are stored in a place that is accessible and remembered. The fact that we are usually able to depend on our sources of power means that most of us have our flashlights and candles tucked away in a closet or cupboard because we don’t use them all that often. When the power does go out, no one wants to be trying to remember where their light sources are and rummaging around in the dark house to find them. Make sure to always keep them in a convenient place, perhaps a few in different areas around the house, where they can be easily found when they are needed.
- First Aid: It is always a good idea to keep a well-stocked First Aid Kit in the house, and during a Power Outage is a great example of a time when it might need to be used. Having everything centralized in one location helps when needing to find a health product quickly. These kits should have all the standard bandages, tape, scissors, gauze, disinfectant, etc. Having extra medication such as painkillers, or extra prescription medications available can also mean that everything is in one place to be accessed. Should an injury or accident occur, having a First Aid Kit ready to go can often help deal with smaller concerns or tend to things while waiting for further medical assistance.
- Food: 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 on top of losing the power in the refrigerator to keep things cool. Having a good stockpile of canned and prepared foods with long shelf-lives and things that don’t 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 a good idea to plan to have enough of these foods to last about a week, which should be more than enough to deal with a lengthy outage.
- Power Info: Having a way to get updates and information about the state of the Power Outage can help to 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, so keeping the information to the power company on hand so that you can contact them with a cellphone or checking the internet for updates can help provide insight into when the power might come back on and can allow for planning.
- Charge: 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 people’s 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 allow seniors to hold on to ways to contact other people and keep 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 means that there is always the possibility to at least have a little power for the small things that need it.
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.