Recently, the Sacramento Bee published an article about two assisted living centers that abandoned residents during a raging fire in the wine country. At risk were 120 residents, many of whom were unable to walk without aid and were left behind locked doors. Thankfully, the residents’ relatives and first responders got everyone out alive. They had to literally break down the doors of one facility. One facility burned to the ground.
They are still investigating the circumstances, but regardless of who was to blame, it gives those who have loved ones in care facilities a chill up their spine. It makes all of us aware that we have to take action to absolutely know where our older loved ones are during a disaster. Having the phone numbers and other contact information of local police and rescue could make the difference between life and death. If you can’t speak to your loved one on the phone and be assured they are in a safe place, then those numbers can be lifesavers.
It seems to me that there are more and more disasters going on. Between the fires across the nation, the hurricanes hitting the coasts and the inevitable earthquake dangers, we all need to know how to respond and take care of each other. I’m fortunate to work mostly from home and my parents are just a little over a mile away. They also have wonderful neighbors who have my phone number should something go wrong. I sleep with my phone. I still worry. That’s what we do. No one can see the future or all the troubles that may come our way but we can prepare the best we can.
For those of you who are long-distance care providers, having trusted people to contact during a disaster can be a vital link to knowing your loved one is safe or getting them help when needed. Having more contacts with neighbors, friends, church members, police and rescue personnel is a good place to start.