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Wildfires blamed for a number of elder deaths

According to reports, half a dozen senior citizens perished in two of the most recent wildfires in California. Workers note that others could be found as clean up and rescue work continues after two major fires swept through and destroyed more than 1,000 homes. Reports indicate that many survivors barely made it to safety, which illustrates some frightening truths for aging populations and their families.

One social worker reported that any hesitation to leave a home or place of residence can contribute to the risk of death in a situation such as a fire. Older individuals might hesitate to leave a home for any number of reasons. They might have lived in a house so long, they are especially tied to it and want to protect it. At the other extreme, they might not be physically or mentally able to leave the home or might fear that once they are out of the home, they might not be able to keep moving.

What does this have to do with care planning? The fact that several individuals above the age of 65 found themselves in such survival situations shows us how important care decisions and long-term planning are. Even if you are still able to make decisions for yourself or get out of a home if emergency strikes, you might not always be so lucky. Deciding now who will provide care and how they will do it can provide some peace of mind for your future.

Care planning doesn't specifically address emergency situations, but it can address who will be involved in your life as you age. With the right people caring for you, hopefully, you will have people to rely on in such events. Care planning also helps you ensure day-to-day activities and decisions are in good hands, which is as important as being able to escape an emergency situation.

Source: Benzinga, "Six Seniors Lost Their Lives in Recent Fires," Sep. 28, 2015

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