January Tip: In case of emergency

The genesis of this idea comes from Judy Pigott and her ground-breaking book, Personal Safety Nets. Judy and her co-author, Dr. John Gibson, developed a program that would help us identify a small community of people who would be there in emergency situations.

It suggested that we identify three people in our lives who have access to our homes and know who else to contact in case of emergency.  

I always liked the idea and also never quite got around to implementing it until a few years ago.

I live alone in a secure building near Green Lake. I have only recently gotten to know my neighbors and started to establish a sense of community there. For the most part, nobody knows what or how I am doing day to day.

Two years ago, when talking with a friend who also lives alone, we acknowledged that if something happened to us in our homes, nobody would know. It could take several days before people in our circle of family and friends realized they hadn’t heard from us.

We both knew stories of people not being to get out of their bathtubs or falling or being sick and not having anybody to help.

We decided we would text each other daily to say hello and reassure each other we were up and moving. We only needed a few words and sometimes an emoji that captured how we were each morning. My sister and sometimes descend into emoji exchanges bordering on the absurd. If you haven’t seen how many there are, it’s fun to discover them. My sister found the sweet sloth among the animals. I like what it could mean when she sends it.

Now I have two people whose texts I receive and who I text. We haven’t had to resort to emergency measures to find each other, but if we don’t hear in the morning, we might text again or call. We also have numbers of others we could call if we were concerned.

I like the way it helps me feel connected and important to someone else’s health and well-being.

If this idea feels relevant to you, think of someone who you are willing to commit to and who you know will be equally committed to you.

I have been surprised by how the intimacy of those relationships has increased because of our daily contact.