It’s been an extra tough week for so many in the world. Japan is reeling from the earthquake and the tsunami – and the news is something all of us boomers and seniors are watching extra close this week – particularly those of us in the Sandwich Generation with family members, young and old, who might be in the path of any radiation.
Of course, it doesn’t take a national emergency to bring sorrow to our lives. In Pennsylvania, there are parents and grandparents mourning deeply over the deaths of 7 children in a fire. I have been praying for that family and was personally struck by the father’s words. He commented that they did have smoke detectors, but he wasn’t sure his young children would have known what to do if they heard them. Their mom was there – just in another building right next to the property.
And, in the last three weeks, more than one city has been devastated by tornadoes! It definitely doesn’t take much time for an emergency to strike, and it can happen to anyone at any time. Those of us who are active, even if we are senior citizens, can deal with these reasonably well, but our elderly parents and young grandchildren may not be able to.
All of these combined gave me a good reminder that I need to be even more proactive about talking through emergency procedures with my senior mom and my grandchildren. I know they are hearing about it from their parents, but it can almost never be repeated too many times! I realized that when we first started in with our Lent and Easter activities and I pulled out their Resurrection Easter eggs.
As much as we used the Resurrection Easter Eggs, and retold the story with them over the last few years, the first time we did it this year, they had forgotten so much! It is definitely vital to make safety rules a recurring topic for the whole Sandwich Generation family.
I’ve decided I need to:
- Check with my long distance senior parents and make sure all my contact information for their nearby neighbors and pastors are correct in case I need to get in touch with them in an emergency and their phone isn’t working.
- Check all the batteries in the smoke detectors – even after I reminded others, I ended up forgetting the time change AND the battery check this spring.
- Print out and practice some basic safety tips with my grandkids like “Stop, Drop and Roll.” Plus go over emergency procedures in case of a fire, a tornado, or other emergency in my area. I also need to talk about what they should do if a parent or grandparent collapses and THEY have to call 911. And it’s not just us boomers and seniors that can happen to. I remember 20 years ago, a 34 year old friend collapsed from an aneurysm and a 37 year old father died from a heart attack!
- It’s also a good time to check the fire extinguisher and make sure it is full, plus make sure we know where the water turn-offs are for the house.
- I don’t have a fancy first-aid kit, but I do have a plastic tote with thermometer, bandaids, and bacitracin, so I’m OK there.
- I need to check my flashlights and my senior mom’s absolute favorite radio of all times, her Grundig FR200 portable emergency radio, to make sure they have batteries AND stock up on the right size of batteries.
Now it’s your turn. Can you think of any other safety tips for all of us in the Sandwich Generation, dealing with the issues of caring for the elderly parents in our family, along with babysitting grandchildren? We’d love to hear more ideas and suggestions.