I live in northern British Columbia, Canada, where wildfires this summer are impacting thousands of people.
So far the flames have spared my community, but we’re hosting thousands of evacuees — some of whom are elderly and unhealthy — who’ve been driven from their homes by fires and smoke.
My sympathies are with all the evacuees, most of whom carry on bravely despite their losses. I wish them all a safe return to their home communities.
Being evacuated from your home — and possibly losing it — is stressful enough, but if you have a medical condition, that adds a layer of complexity:
- The need to bring oxygen, walkers, canes, prescriptions, etc., when you’re evacuated
- New and unfamiliar procedures for getting your prescriptions filled (and possible interruptions in that service)
- New and unfamiliar procedures for accessing medical care (and possible interruptions)
- Temporarily losing access to your own doctor, who knows your history
- The effect of stress on your existing condition(s)
- And probably more stuff I haven’t thought of, not being a medical professional!
All this makes me more determined than ever to stay fit and healthy as I age.
In emergencies, I want to go on being a volunteer, rather than someone in need of help, and if my husband and I are evacuated (touch wood!), I want us to be able to look after ourselves.
I want to be able to run down (or up) stairs if escalators are disabled, and I want to be able to have a least a chance of helping to rescue others — for example, carrying someone away from a fire or area of earthquake damage. (My deadlift is currently only 85 lb (38.5 kg), so only small people can apply to be rescued, but I’m working on it!)
I realize that physical fitness isn’t all, and no matter how healthy we are, there are still situations where we might need to be rescued.
However, we can tip the odds in our favour by eating a low-carb diet (including avoiding sugar) and staying active. Being healthy will make us less of a burden during an emergency, letting resources flow to those who truly need them. It also sets us up for being able to actually help during a crisis.
It’s not a pleasant thing to think about, but what emergencies is your community vulnerable to? What are you doing to prepare?
Let me know in the comments, and thanks for reading.