Ron D’Aquila, RN
The power outage that affected most of Connecticut’s residents on October 29, 2011 and lasted in many cases for a week or longer was particularly difficult on seniors. Our agency was without power for an entire week, however we did enact our “Disaster Plan” which included technical changes in our phone systems so that all calls would be forwarded to managers with cell phones, communicating with client’s, their families, and our caregivers to assist in addressing specific needs, manager visits to many of our client’s with the most need, contacting case managers, and utilizing email and social media to enhance communication. Several of our client’s needed to be brought to the homes of family members who had power, and some had to be brought to the emergency room, shelters, or even be temporarily admitted to Skilled Nursing Facilities.
We were able to bring out several complimentary hot meals to our client’s in need that were made by “Mangia Bene” a gourmet-to-go restaurant in Rocky Hill. I will tell you from first hand experience these meals are truly gourmet quality such as chicken marsala, lasagna, and eggplant rollatini. They are also surprisingly cost effective with most heat-and-serve dinners between $5 and $10 each. The meals freeze well if purchased in bulk and can be a wonderful gift to a senior loved-one who you have concerns about eating well. Interestingly, we began having our managers bring these complimentary dinners to client’s recently to recognize them for a special day such as a birthday or holiday – but used up our complete stock with the storm! Check them out here.
There were probably hundreds of frail at-risk seniors across Connecticut who either have no immediate family or family living in the area who were not afforded the same safety net. It would seem that a more concerted effort be made within communities to identify those individuals so that when this or another event occurs in the future there can be better measures taken to assure their well-being.