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Senior Adults and Emergencies – Part 2 | Keystone Elder Law – Mechanicsburg, PA

In a past blog we looked at Fire and Medical emergency situation. Today, let’s look at a couple of others.

Weather Emergencies– Central Pennsylvania is no stranger to a variety of weather-related emergencies. We have had floods, tornados; hurricane-force winds, major snow storms, and extended heat waves. While we may not be able to prevent them, we can be prepared for them. Being informed is essential, so a battery operated radio with fresh batteries is a must. For those of you who like new technologies, a smart phone or a computer tablet with cell phone access can serve the same purpose. It is also essential to have an evacuation plan, just in case you need to leave your home. If there are not friends or family with whom you can stay, then go to a public shelter. In the event of a tornado, you should go to a windowless room on the lowest level of your home. Of course with any of these emergency situations you may lose utility service to your home. Consequently, it is good to have a supply for a couple of days of bottled water and food that does not require cooking. You will need to check you emergency food stash periodically to replace items that are nearing their expiration date. While there are things you should do in the event of a weather emergency, there are also things you should not do. Outdoor grills and portable generators produce carbon monoxide, and therefore should not be used in enclosed (indoor) areas. Due to the risk of fire, it is also better to use battery operated lighting rather than candles when the electric power is off.

Home Invasion– Unfortunately, older people, especially ones who live alone, are seen by some criminal elements as easy targets. This means we need to be proactive in order to be less vulnerable. First of all we should develop the habit of keeping doors and windows locked. If you are concerned about people having access in an emergency, leave a key with a trusted neighbor. Do not leave a key outside in familiar hiding places like a flower pot or under a door mat. (Although, if you want to mess with their minds you could put a key that does not open your door lock in one of those places.) A common scam to gain entry to your home is for someone to pose as a utility employee who needs to check the wiring, pipes, meter, etc. in your home. My experience is that when a utility needs this to be done, they will send a card through the mail for you to call to set up an appointment time for the home inspection. If someone comes unannounced to your door, before you let them inside your home, call the utility company the person supposedly works for to confirm he or she is an employee of that company and that in-home access is needed.

Some people use motion activated lighting to discourage would be thieves. Others use a commercial security system. If you do not already have a dog as a pet, you may want to obtain a tape or CD of a dog barking, and play that anytime you suspect someone may be trying to break into your home. Putting timers on lights can give the appearance that your home is occupied even if you are away.

Hopefully, you will never experience these emergency situations, but if you do, you will be glad you were prepared ahead of time.

John Reese
Elder Care Coordinator