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Attention in the USA has been directed for a few days (and will be for another few days) at the huge winter storm hitting about one-third of the US population at some time this week.

For days, deaths will be counted and accidents portrayed on television. If it is a typical big storm week in the USA somewhere between 50 and 300 deaths will be attributed to the storm. Awful, yes. Some will be because elderly and poor people died due to lack of heat. A lot will be because some idiot (often under the influence of alcohol) was driving a car unnecessarily. But the count will be in the 100s.

Think about this a little. ONE-THIRD of the US population is indoors for 2-4 days with a warm living room with comfortable chairs, TV sports showing fairly aggressive games (football and hockey, basketball sometimes), and a just recently stocked refrigerator and pantry full of salty food, beer, wine, wine coolers, bourbon, gin, Jim Beam, and Johnny Walker, and the rest of their friends.

How many TENS OF THOUSANDS of spouses, children, and elderly will be physically assaulted (slapping, punching, raping) during this period of domestic bliss in a winter wonderland? How many will be berated and be psychologically drawn-and-quartered by other individuals in the household? And because of the weather, the police will not be able to respond quickly to the reported (a small percentage of those that actually happen) domestic violence calls. Probably my estimate in the first sentence is off. Probably HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS of spouses, children, and elderly will be physically or psychologically assaulted by the combination of closeness, alcohol, and various aggressive stimuli not the least of which is now also Internet pornography. And the television news.

And how many of the “idiots” killed on the road during the storm were spouses and children fleeing from an inebriated and abusive partner?

Being forced to be inside with too much alcohol and TV and “domestic bliss” is a recipe for long-term scars, shattered lives, and the transmission of domestic violence across generations.

Does any liquor store in your town stop sales starting a day or two before a blizzard? The liquor stores in many US states are controlled by the state government (and directly run by them). Does any grocery chain stop selling beer and wine?

The real victims are those who endure an indebriated adult or teen during days spent indoors and future generations if forced to repeat this cycle again and again.

And in many cases it is your state government perpetuating it.

Break the cycle.

Break the bottles of alcohol.

 

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There are a lot of reasons to be overwhelmed by the occurrence of a major weather event (snow, tornado, hurricane, heavy rainfall with or without an accompanying electrical storm, flooding, extremely high or low temperatures, smog, fog, and many others). With the exception of the television stations, Internet retailers, weather forecasters, and disaster supplies merchants sold out of milk and eggs, most people are adversely impacted by extreme weather.

I think it is fair to state that those living with dementia — whether living in their own homes or various types of care facilities — are among those most affected by adverse weather conditions; I certainly feel that I am. People with dementia do not do well with ambiguity and confusion and a disruption of regular plans. Medications may be missed, panic may set in, the food pantry may be bare, and needed life supports may be missing as caregivers are stranded. And while the news broadcasters love their opportunity to get all of the air time, they get it by endlessly describing deaths, accidents, closed schools and business, police overstatements of the problem designed to keep people within their homes, and the bubble head news anchors still unable to describe anything accurately so fall back on their “horrible” stories of how difficult it was for them (self-anointed heros all) to drive into the television studio at 4 AM.

No wonder everyone living with dementia ends up confused (and worse).

A mind map of problems and suggested partial “solutions.” Click on the image to expand its size. Use your telephone to contact friends and family who may be experiencing difficulties such as those I describe.

Why a Person with Dementia May Be Overwhelmed by a Major Weather Event

If you (or anyone else) needs assistance during a major weather event, dial 911 (or your local number) and speak to your local law enforcement or emergency medical response agency. They have the equipment to make it to your location during heavy rain, flooding, blizzards, and tornadoes. The American (and world-wide) network of first responders to emergencies is a highly dedicated and well-trained group who can help in many different ways.