Back in the old days, fires provided light, heat and an energy source for cooking food. They also could protect humans out in the wild from potential predators. Without fire, life was more difficult. Today, we don’t depend on fire in the same way, but we definitely harness electricity to accomplish many of those same tasks. There’s a reason power outages are called “blackouts”! During the next power outage, check on your fellow Palo Alto seniors…all seniors (including those with dementia care or other memory care needs) are vulnerable.
Dementia care in Palo Alto: Preparing for blackoutsIt’s inevitable that a power outage will occur sometime while your Palo Alto senior is living at home. There are a number of reasons you should be concerned about a blackout.
When an outage occurs, your senior probably will lose his or her heat source. Seniors don’t have the ability to regulate internal temperatures as well as when younger, so this can lead to a serious problem if it gets too chilly inside the home. If your loved one receives dementia care, he or she might not know / remember to dress more warmly.
Fear is also a potential by-product of a blackout. If your Palo Alto senior tries to plug in an electrical device or flip a light switch and it doesn’t work, this could easily lead to confusion and fear.
Most in-the-home lighting is powered by electricity, which means that the lights won’t work in an outage. Yes, flashlights are a good alternative, but seniors receiving dementia care may have more trouble remembering where flashlights are stored etc. Decreased lighting can also lead to an increased danger for falling.
Your senior’s refrigerator and freezer will also quit working in a power outage. Without proper care, the food inside can quickly go bad (keep the doors closed for as long as possible). Thankfully, a NuevaCare caregiver can go grocery shopping if needed for your Palo Alto senior and restock the fridge once power is restored.
For seniors depending on electric-powered medical devices, the damages caused by a power outage could be even higher. You, your Palo Alto senior and his or her dementia care aide should sit down together to create comprehensive documentation regarding any potential issues related to power outages. Make sure to list all emergency contact info and keep a good stock of batteries on hand for quick replacement.
Sources: http://seniorcarecorner.com/seniors-at-risk-in-power-outages-as-they-age-in-place, https://www.medicalguardian.com/medical-alert-blog/in-the-news/how-power-outages-affect-the-elderly, https://simple.wikipedia.org/wiki/Control_of_fire_by_early_humans, https://www.nia.nih.gov/health/cold-weather-safety-older-adults