ARTICLES / General /
Caregiving in the Aftermath of a Storm /
By Janie Rosman
Dadís limited mobility makes him irritable at
times. While unsteady with a walker, heís happy
to get outside for fresh air. Given that the
front of our apartment building was under siege
ó er, construction ó for two months while crews
replaced the brick and pavement, Dad had
exceeded his cabin-fever limit.
The back entrance was difficult to navigate so
he stayed indoors, save for a few doctorsí
visits or the occasional trip to the barber.
Thus it was cruel coincidence that, no sooner
was the work completed and Dad was able to walk
out the front entrance ó and take advantage of
the newly-constructed sidewalk lip ó that Mother
Nature told him no with forceful winds and
Luckily, we didnít lose power, although traffic
signals three blocks away were non-functioning.
I worried we would, and knew it would be
different from what we experienced several
summers earlier. Then, Dad was in better health
and able to walk the stairwell ó or our
apartment ó with a flashlight, relying on his
recognition and special familiarity.
The aftermath of a storm requires quick thinking
to assess immediate needs and replenish losses.
Dadís recent inability to leave the apartment
was aggravated more by the fact that his free
will to do it was blunted by weather and
Caregivers who listen, and who say the right
things at the right times, provide the best
assistance; itís important for them to know what to
say and do before reaching out. Traumatic
experiences cloud judgment and ability to think
clearly; often people feel out of control of their
surroundings and feelings. Having a plan and a
protocol can help caregivers remain in control and
be prepared, so they will know what to do and say.