(Or: Emergency Kits for Seniors)
By: Patrick M. Kennedy
Ah yes, the Boy Scout’s motto, “Be Prepared,” brings to mind that maybe this same motto should also apply to retired seniors. “Be prepared for what”, you may ask. Well, for everything and anything. Be prepared, ready, geared up, primed, organized, and all set for any unexpected thing or emergency that arises.
A natural catastrophe, home accident, quick sickness, unexpected visitors, the daily paper delivered, but thrown too far out on the lawn for you to retrieve in the rain, or just plain boredom. Yes, boredom necessitates special tools to keep from going crazy in an emergency … or at the least, becoming more eccentric than you already are.
Being prepared in your mind is very important. By being disciplined and ready for anything, and also having a detailed plan beforehand to meet any accident or situation that might occur, is so essential. Being prepared will at least make you feel a little safer. It is so you are confident that you will do the right thing at the right moment, and you are willing to do it.
Be prepared in body by making yourself strong, flexible and active and able to react, and do it. “What me Worry!” may be good for Alfred E. Neuman, the idiot kid of MADD Magazine, but here the opposite should be true , or at least a little of it: “Me Worry a Little.”
There are so many things you should keep handy in your “Worry a Little” tool kit. There are the obvious. The First Aid Kit, phone numbers for the right people and places, aspirins in case you get a head ache or feel a little woozy, a bottle of brandy (for any reason), a deck of cards for solitaire in case of boredom, or the unexpected guests, and in case the lights go out, a flashlight with charged batteries and candles with the matches next to the candles … there is nothing worse than trying to locate a tiny match in a blackened room.
And another often overlooked item, food you don’t need to cook or refrigerate. You know, like granola bars, canned fruits and juices (and a can opener), bottled water (a most important item to have a lot of it on hand), candy or chocolate bars, nuts, beef jerky, (Oh, make a trip to your local bar with a shopping list).
Your medications are extremely vital for this “Me Worry a Little” tool kit. Yes, you know where they are, but maybe, because of a natural misfortunate occurrence, they may be inaccessible. A small container with several days of your daily dosages is so important to keep you alert and alive in an emergency.
And another important thing to do, secure your vital documents in one safe and fireproof place with easy access and protection.
This may all sound like an exaggeration of a future and maybe-never-to-happen occurrence, but, as Walt Whitman said, “I accept reality and dare not question it.” So should you. It could happen.
Speaking of phone numbers, a cell phone is an essential consideration for many reasons. If the power lines go down, the phone lines might go with them. If you go down and the phone is on the other side of the house, but your phone is attached to your belt, then there you are a couple of push buttons away from help.
There are other electronic, or so called, medical alert systems on the market for seniors who live alone. Some are small buttons you wear around your neck, on your wrist, or pinned to your shirt or blouse. One push of the button and someone is alerted that you are in trouble; a central monitoring office, a relative, or even a nearby neighbor who can come and help. These people should have key access to your residence.
There are other suggestions along this line. If you drive a vehicle with a remote lock, many of them have a panic button on them that sets off your car alarm. If you press that, and a neighbor hears it, they know you are in trouble. Someone suggested having a small, boat, aerosol-can air alarm/horn and set it off and hope the neighbors can hear the loud noise.
“Even if you're on the right track, you'll get run over if you just sit there,” said Author Godfrey. The idea is, don’t procrastinate. You should get started and be thinking about “Being Prepared” now. You probably can think of a dozen other things you will need in an emergency kit, so then, pack them up and place them in your “Worry a Little” tool kit … just in case.