It’s no secret that when disasters strike certain people have a more difficult time overcoming their circumstances. When natural disasters are imminent, the elderly and disabled may require more attention and care and some, especially if they live alone, may not have the physical ability to evacuate or seek other accommodations.
During the recent wildfires that are still raging in California, mandatory evacuations were ordered, but not all elderly men or women were able to easily get out of harm’s way. Even though home care aides and other dedicated professionals strive to ensure safety for all of their clients, when these types of fast-moving natural disasters strike, resources are stretched thin.
This is where public outreach and the kindness of neighbors and strangers can make a world of difference to those in need.
According to Click 2 Houston, in the blog, Californians find ways to help each other as deadly wildfires rage, written by CNN reporters and contributors Melissa Gray, Dakin Andone, Eric Leverson, Amanda Jackson, Gianluca Mezzofiore, Christina Maxouris, and Stephanie Becker:
“Margaret Newsum, 93, knew she needed to evacuate, so she collected her medicines and other vital needs and walked out of her home in Magalia. She didn’t know who would take care of her.
“I was standing there when I looked up and saw this great, big, green monster truck barreling down the street,” Newsum told CNN.
Dane Ray Cummings, a Waste Management driver, was wrapping up his collection route and wanted to check on elderly or disabled residents.
“He said, you’re going with me,” Newsum recalled.
Knowing a 93-year-old shouldn’t stay at an evacuation center, Cummings called up childhood friend and co-worker Brian Harrison, a heavy equipment technician for Waste Management. Harrison agreed to put up Newsum until she can move back into her home.
“This family has taken me in,” Newsum said. “I have never felt so wanted and so comfortable and so much brought into making me part of the family,” she said.”
These wildfires are devastating portions of Northern and Southern California, as they have done repeatedly through the years. While most of the major media stories show the devastation, the issues that trouble elderly and disabled residents can easily be overlooked.
Home care agencies and other providers often make a significant difference in keeping people safe, but with numerous clients to care for, sometimes public outreach can make a world of difference when somebody is in the direct path of danger.