Aging in Place: Disasters and the Story Behind the story

A winning effort begins with preparation.

~Joe Gibbs

Aging in Place

As the creator and manager of aginginplace.com I get daily requests and pitches from individuals and organizations involved in aging issues ranging from home remodeling to anti-aging skin creams. Most solicitations don’t get my attention, however every once in a while an idea of merit comes along. The following email was sent to my inbox, and it brings up a potential aging-in-pace topic that was not on my radar:

Hi Patrick,

According to the National Council on Aging, more than 90 percent of older adults prefer to age in place rather than to move to assisted living or senior housing. So, how do we make sure that grandma’s home is safe and secure for her to continue to live there? 
Updates to kitchens and bathrooms are common to see when preparing a home for aging in place, but what happens when the power goes out? The lights won’t turn on, the alarm clock is off, and the landline doesn’t work. 
Home standby generators are a necessary addition for any homeowner who plans on remaining in their home as they age. The installing of home backup power offers peace of mind to the resident and their family, knowing they will be much safer in the event of a blackout. 
I have local Geriatric experts available for over the phone or in-person interviews who can speak to the importance and benefit of home standby power for someone who plans to age in place. 
Let me know what you think! I think this would be an aging in place story that no one else has written about and it would be great on your blog!

Thanks,__________________

 

The Story Behind the Story

GrantMakers in Aging is a membership organization of philanthropist with the mission of improving the experience of aging. In an informative article titled; Disasters, Older Adults and Philanthropy, by Jennifer W. Campbell, the author provides compelling statistics on what she calls “the story behind the story.” Riveting headlines report unthinkable human tragedy with devastating damage to property and nature. Video images of able-bodied people fleeing flooded streets are often spread on social media. But it’s the older adult who is rendered infinitely more vulnerable and is more likely to perish in disasters than any other groups.

Potential reasons are these:

  1. Unable or reluctant to mobilize quickly
  2. Historic memories of lived-through Experience = Anchoring Effect (senior may have lived through a natural disaster and thinks this next one will be similar–when in fact it may not)
  3. Chronic Conditions can quickly deteriorate (stress, medications not available)
  4. House-bound cut off from help (invisible and often isolated)

When considering your aging-in-place strategy it’s advisable to consider not just rails, ramps, and technology–but also being prepared for natural or man-made disasters…the story behind the story. A simple thing like a generator for standby power makes life-saving sense.

 

See

CDC Emergency Preparedness for Older Adults 

RedCross: Be Informed-Build a Kit-Make a Plan

Harry Truman and Spirit Lake

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