As we continue the recovery efforts from Hurricane Ian, we are reminded yet again what every disaster teaches us. Preparedness is key.
Let me tell you about a lovely couple I met on Thursday, the day after Hurricane Ian slammed into Florida. Their names and personal details have been changed.
Stan is an 84-year old man living with dementia and some paralysis. He and his wife, Mary, live on a high floor of a high-rise residential condo with beautiful views of the beach in Naples. Mary has faithfully and lovingly cared for Stan for decades. Although they live in an evacuation zone, everyone thought they would be okay because the building seemed safe and secure and the staff was exceptional. Mary did everything she could to prepare for the hurricane getting extra food and water, along with other needed supplies.
Two things Mary, and others, forgot to consider however, is what would happen if the electricity went out and the elevators couldn’t run as well as what would happen if Stan’s daily caregivers could not get to their home. That is exactly what happened. Naples, although it did not sustain a direct hit, suffered flooding like we’ve never seen. Stan’s daily caregivers couldn’t get to them and suddenly, Mary was alone in an apartment without electricity and water, caring for someone who was too heavy for her to lift.
On Thursday, as my team and I were calling all our clients and community partners to check on everyone, I received a call from Stan’s family living in another state. The reality of the situation was very clear. Stan had to be moved into a community who could care for all of his needs right away.
Within 36 hours, the Senior Care Authority of Southwest Florida team was able to meet with Stan and Mary and move them to a community with space for them. Naples EMS was called to carry Stan down the 14 flights of stairs and transport him to the community, which was up and running, ready to welcome them to their new home.
One of the most memorable moments in my career to date, was being with Stan and Mary as we did a Face Time with their family. There were tears of joy and relief all around. This story could have ended very differently, but for the amazing people in the Naples community, including the staff and executives, as well as local EMS. Stan and Mary were able to get the basics and feel human again. Equally important, their family was able to relax knowing Stan and Mary were in a safe place.
In our Senior Care Authority staff meeting on the Monday following the hurricane, we shared stories of how everyone helped their communities and families during this crazy time. These stories are what sustain us. These stories are the reason that we do what we do. Every client reminds us of our own parents and we care for them as we used to care for our parents that have left us too soon.
If you see yourself, or your parents or another loved one, in Stan and Mary’s story, please don’t wait until a snowstorm hits New York or another hurricane hits somewhere along the coast. Call us and we will help answer your questions and help you determine what your next best steps are in relation to senior care and disaster preparedness.
If you have loved ones already in an assisted living or a memory care community, and you are not able to be in contact with them as much as you wish, we are introducing our Peace of Mind service. Peace of Mind includes wellness checks, advocacy and even helping to arrange for goods and services your loved one in assisted living might need.
In light of the hurricane, we are making this service available for our clients and for non-clients, as well. Meaning that, even if we did not assist with placement, you can still arrange this service for your loved one. Get in touch with us at email@example.com or call the numbers below to learn more about this service and how we can help you find Peace of Mind.
Next month, we will provide a list of questions that you need to think through to make sure your loved one is prepared for a disaster, big or small. A disaster can happen suddenly to any of us, and it is our greatest hope that you are prepared and safe when it does.