“Sandy was something that you’ll never forget,” says Miny Lasper, who has been a home care worker for 29 years with Rockaway Manor Home Care. As a resident of Far Rockaway near Jamaica Bay, she went without light or heat for two weeks.
But she didn’t survive the storm alone. Miny’s home care client is 77 and is on oxygen because of lung problems. Miny knew she wouldn’t be able to reach her client when the storm hit.
When her client’s building went on lock-down, Miny had to act fast. She made the decision to bring her client into her own home to wait out the storm.
“I’m honored to work with home bound people,” she says. “Sometimes you have to be the caregiver, the family, the nurse’s aid-everything.” Her adult grandson with disabilities also lives with her. His regular home care worker was not able to reach their home during the storm, so Miny looked after them both.
“It was a challenge, but you never know what you can do until you’re put to the test,” says Miny. Sandy was that test. And while she had some canned food and diapers at home, she also had lots of support from her neighbors. They came and checked on her, and brought food, water and supplies. She says, “You never know how your neighbors really are until a situation like this.”
Miny feels the City should be better prepared for the next storm. “The next Mayor needs to think about how to evacuate elderly people,” she says. “The older people I saw were very scared. One lady was convinced that the world was coming to an end. There was just too much fear and not enough communication.”
Thinking about her own preparations, Miny says if she had to do it again, she would do it much the same. She was able to provide good care for her grandson and client, despite the challenges. “Everybody just came together—it was beautiful, really,” says Miny. “If people were like that all the time, it would be a better world.”