Oct 29, 2012

Sandy, Alzheimer's, Dementia, and the Northeast U.S.

To our readers in the path of Sandy, rest assured that we will be praying for your safety.

By Bob DeMarco
Alzheimer's Reading Room

Sandy, Alzheimer's, Dementia, and the Northeastern U. S.
As I sit here I can't help but worry. My sister, brother, aunt, nieces, and many of my friends live in an area bounded by the area from Philadelphia to Massachusetts. We also have many thousands of readers of the ARR along the entire east coast from top to bottom that are living in the path of this monster storm - Sandy.

It appears this storm will reach all the way to Boston. We have lots of friends including Max Wallack in that area.

I would estimate more that we have more than 10,000 readers and subscribers of the ARR near the coastline.

I'll start by asking all of our readers to pray for their safety.

Above and beyond the writers and readers, we have more than 10,000 dementia patients that are being cared for by readers in the path of Sandy. I would estimate that there are several hundreds of thousands of dementia patients residing in the area covered by the storm.

However, it is not just dementia patients. The elderly, children, and many at greater risk are right in the path of this storm. This is not to diminish the risk for every person living in the path of Sandy.

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I lived through 3 major hurricanes since I came to Delray Beach in 2003. Fortunately, I used good judgement and sent my mother to my sister in New Jersey for the first one. Then I had to ask her to keep her. It was gut wrenching sending my mother on a plane. She just couldn't figure out what was happening. When she arrived in Newark, New Jersey she had no idea where she was, or why she was there.

As it turned out, the electricity went out in our home here in Delray Beach for a week. It is very eerie at night when they are no lights. And in this case, no moon. It was black dark outside.

I talked to Dotty every day while she was with Joanne. Fortunately, she did adapt. However, she wished she was here the entire time because she was convinced that I was having a great time. For the first 6 days there was a curfew at 8 PM. Only medical and emergency personal were allowed on the streets and roads. You were locked in your home until dawn.

When Wilma roared in to Delray Beach in 2005 Dotty was here with me. A giant branch from a 60 foot tall pine tree came through our window during the first part of the Hurricane. We had to sweat out the second half with no window. Not only did it knock out the glass, it knocked out most of the frame. It wasn't easy keeping Dotty away from that window. Or for that matter, keeping her in any one place for the entire duration of the hurricane. We are surrounded by windows in our condo.

Almost all of Delray Beach lost electricity for a week after Wilma. We were fortunate here at home. An emergency caused by a sewer line break nearby caused the need for emergency electricity to fix it. We just happened to be on that electricity grid and our electricity came back on in 36 hours. But only for a tiny few of us. People less than a hundred yards from where we lived waited the week for their electricity to come back on.

It is hard to imagine, even though I live through it 3 times, the havoc that is wrecked by storms of this type. Not only the physical damage to homes, but the emotional damage that comes with damaging storms.

I sit here wondering? What about all the people that are living alone with dementia in that area? Did their children, relatives, or friends take action? We already know that a large fractions of those persons with dementia are going to say No when offered assistance. Are people going to say alright then, we tried to help? Sadly, I know this will be happening.

To all of our friends along the east coast be assured that we will be praying for you. I know that you can count on Alzheimer's Reading Room readers.

If you lose your electricity rest assured that we won't stop thinking about you.

Please let us know how you are doing. I get the feeling we might be missing some of you for a while. I hope not.

God bless each and every one of you.

Check in when you can.

Bob DeMarco
Bob DeMarco is the Founder of the Alzheimer's Reading Room and an Alzheimer's caregiver. The ARR knowledge base contains more than 3,811 articles with more than 306,100 links on the Internet. Bob lives in Delray Beach, FL.

Original content Bob DeMarco, the Alzheimer's Reading Room