The Day After the Storm – Generators at the ALF


Like a lot of people, I live in an area that had wind warnings and flood warnings last night.  For us, the “Superstorm” wasn’t expected until later than many as we are not in a coastal area.  We still had our runs at the store where I heard they ran out of D batteries and maybe other things.  I will admit I am the type that always has a disaster kit that is well stocked with all kinds of batteries.

Nevertheless, yesterday when I was out in the rain for a medical appointment I decided to stop at a large grocery store nearby to pick up some lifesavers (yes, lifesavers) because I had been craving them the night before and was totally out.  I find these candies make my sweet tooth happy without adding too many calories to the snacks I much on in the evenings.

And while at the grocery store I picked up a few other things.  I was surprised that the store was not crowded though they had about 15 cashiers open.  My usual store is always very busy with only about 6 checkers open and long lines.  Nevertheless, last evening I heard that most grocery stores had been very busy all day and sold out of many items that people want in case they lose electricity or get stuck at home a few days.

I watched to wall to wall television coverage of hurricane Sandy on television last night while keeping a flashlight in my pocket.  Our lights flickered but never went out.  I slept fairly well considering that I could hear that wind all night long. (But I dreamed I woke up to sparkling sunlight on about a foot of snow!)

When I awoke I looked out the window and everything looked fine.  I didn’t see any storm debris (or snow, thankfully!).  I spent the morning with my iPad and the television trying to determine if my family and friends in the center of the storm were all right.  I think most of them have lost power.  I did see some Facebook posts that my cousins were fine but lost electricity.  I heard from one friend who was fine but also had no power and her visiting daughter was now stuck in the storm area for days as her flight was cancelled.

I am hopeful I will soon hear from the rest of my friends and family who have been silent and I believe are stuck in the dark.  I did notice that 80% of the people on Long Island and 750,000 or so of New York City residents were without power.  I don’t think those people overlap even though 2 counties of Long Island are also part of New York City.  The numbers came from the various electric companies and thus must be separate figures.  That is a lot of people in the dark, most of whom will wait at least a few days if not longer for their power to be restored.

In addition, my friends in New Jersey are without electricity, and others in upstate New York seem to have escaped without any problems at all.

I was so engrossed in my online searches, I almost forgot to go visit dad.  I usually like to spend an hour with him before lunch on the days that I go.  While on the road, I noticed the streets were  relatively clear of debris, though I had heard some roads were closed.  When I got inside dad’s Assisted Living Facility (ALF), dad was not in the lounge.

I went to dad’s room but he wasn’t there.  I put his snacks in his refrigerator and noticed that he didn’t have any working lights except the refrigerator seemed to be OK.  I went back to the front and asked an aide where dad might be.  She said he had gone to an activity with his lady friend (whom I have called “Mary”).  I was quite surprised!

I said I thought Mary had been more interested in “the other man”.  Well, they said, the “other man” certainly thinks so, and wants her with him.  Mary, in the meantime, forgets who she is interested in, and goes back and forth between the two males who are interested in her!

They told me that dad has been more cooperative lately in getting up, dressed and showered in the morning since he started hanging out more with Mary.  And dad is taking part in more activities since he goes to them with Mary.

I asked about the lights in dad’s room and was told the facility was operating on generators as the lights had gone out last night.  I did notice a lot of noise in the nearby building (memory unit) but hadn’t noticed a generator running at the side of dad’s building also.  The generator was operating the main lights and the kitchen, but only a few lights in each residence.

When I noticed people were returning from the activity room, I watched for dad to come.  His lady returned with the “other man”.  I looked up at the aide and said “jilted?”  She said “Oh, let’s just say she is “fickle”.  I walked down towards the activity room to meet up with dad.  He was the last person to come out the door.

As I walked back with dad, I told him about storm damage in the rest of the country.  He has many friends there and knew the areas well.  We sat in the lounge awhile and then it was time for his lunch.  I told him I would see him again in a few days.

Late this afternoon the manager of his Assisted Living Facility called me to tell me they were still operating on generators.  They were calling all the families, though she knew I had been there this morning.  I asked when she expected the power to be restored, but they have no idea.  She had called the authorities and they said there were over 2000 without power in our little town alone, and about 6000 in the whole metro area.  That is not a lot compared to New York City, Long Island and New Jersey, but to those 6000 customers it is too many.

The ALF is giving residents extra blankets in case their rooms are cold, but she thought dad still had heat in his room.  She said they will be checking on residents in the evening after they go to bed if they still have no power to their room lights.   There is power in the bathroom so if he turns on a light switch there, he should get light!  Maybe I should bring in a flashlight for him though I wonder if he would find it when he needed it.

Overall, I felt like dad was as safe in his Assisted Living Facility during the storm last night as he would have been here at my house.  I don’t have a room for him but if I had to, I could have him sleep in my bed while I took the couch.  Mostly though, dad doesn’t like to make changes and he prefers to stay with his normal routine.  We are lucky that so far he has not had to make any changes.

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About letstalkaboutfamily

I am a retired and was the primary caregiver for both my parents before they passed. I have children and grandchildren. This blog is an attempt to connect with other caregivers and share ideas and experiences. I hope you will let me know what worked for you if you had an experience similar to mine. The main issues I am going to talk about are elder care, death and dying, assisted living, family relationships and hoarders and hoarding. Other topics will come up as I address the issues and my relationship with other family members.
This entry was posted in Alzheimer's Disease, Assisted Living Facility, Caregiving, Dementia, Eldercare, Lady Friend, Superstorm and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to The Day After the Storm – Generators at the ALF

  1. terry1954 says:

    so glad u and your dad are safe!!

    • Thanks, Terry. Me too. I just learned that one cousin has electricity now, but still no Internet cable. So some people still can’t communicate with the world. Dad didn’t even realize there was a big storm!

      • terry1954 says:

        now that was probably a blessing for him and for you, he was not worrying

      • Yes, it was. Mom used to worry all the time, but dad doesn’t worry. It makes life easier for me that he doesn’t worry, and it makes it easier for him too. That is one thing about Alzheimer’s — it makes him worry even less as he doesn’t remember what to worry about!

  2. Terre Mirsch says:

    I am glad to hear that you and your Dad are safe and free from serious consequences of the storm. Facilities have emergency plans in place to ensure the safety and security (or evacuation) of residents so it is good that he was safe and sound in his usual place of residence. Making changes during the crisis is often best to avoid. As you noted, things are tougher here on the east coast- our NJ Shore area and NYC got hit hard and the road to recovery will be long.

    • Thanks, Terre,
      I was in the aftermath of a large hurricane in the south over 10 years ago and it was a week before we got electricity back. Others waited even longer. This storm was even worse for a lot of people in metropolitan areas and it will take even longer. We are lucky to be here though dad’s house is in the area affected. I don’t know yet about any damage but I am sure there is no electricity there. All I can do is pray for my friends and family in affected areas and be thankful dad and I are fine here.

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