Senior Musings May 2010

Posted 06.16.10


BobbiYou would never leave a burning candle or pot on the stove unattended, you change the batteries in your smoke alarms spring and fall, and you feel that having breakers in your electrical panel means a circuit would fail before it caused a fire.

But you may not be as safe as you think.

A friend of mine, who lived in a lovely condo townhouse in Kanata, lost her home and most of its contents when fire broke out in another unit. She was awakened by firemen at 2 a.m., slipped her coat over her pajamas, grabbed her purse, and ended up outside in bare feet, watching the building go up in flames.

Dealing with the insurance company was a nightmare. She was fully covered, but trying to list everything she lost was an impossible task. She had photos of many of her things, but they were on her computer, which was destroyed in the fire.

I remember after Katrina, so many people who lost their homes in the hurricane were without insurance policies, passports, medical records, and other essentials.

Someone suggested at that time that everyone should have a Grab & Go bag near the door.

This should contain all your important documents, as well as back-ups of significant computer folders (on a CD or flash drive). One of those folders should be filled with photographs of everything of value in your house: antiques, good china, silver, collectibles, and pieces of art. Open your closet, drawers, and jewelry boxes, and photograph everything inside.

My photos are stored on a tiny flash drive, with all the documents from my computer on another flash drive I carry in my wallet. My Grab & Go bag contains extra cash, back-up credit cards, receipts for significant purchases, and a printed contact list with bank and credit card information, phone numbers and e-mail addresses for family, close friends and key contacts, including doctor, dentist, etc.

I also keep a current pocket calendar in that bag, to remind me of appointments I've made in the months ahead, along with extra keys, and tickets to coming events.

Don't forget to make photocopies of all your prescriptions when you first receive them, and keep these in your Grab & Go bag as well, along with a photocopy of your driver's license and everything else in your wallet. Those copies could come in handy if you ever lose your wallet or have your purse stolen.

Consider putting bankbooks, your camera, and other valuables you may not ordinarily keep in your purse in the Grab &am;; Go bag. Men usually don't put their wallets in a pocket until they go out, so the Grab &am; Go bag is a good place to store those as well. Put it in when you come home, and it will be ready to grab when you go out.

Your Grab & Go bag can be convenient if you find yourself misplacing things around the house. Instead of getting ready to leave, with your coat already on, only to realize you've forgotten to pick up the camera, or the calendar, or the bank book, they're all there, in the G&G bag.

E-mail Bobbi at BFG@SimonTeakettle.com, and visit her website: www.SimonTeakettle.com

Copyright © 2010 Barbara Florio Graham/Log Cabin Chronicles/06.10