If you’re a caretaker for an elderly family member or another senior, the thought of natural disasters like floods, tornadoes, or hurricanes can be doubly frightening. Not only do you have your own safety to be concerned with, but your senior is also at risk as well, and perhaps more than yourself. Older people are less mobile, less resilient, and often frail, and are therefore at higher risk during dangerous situations. As a caregiver, it’s important to take extra precautions to keep your senior safe during natural disasters.
Here are four things you can do to prepare:
1. Build an Emergency Kit
Knowing that you may not have access to clean water or electricity after an emergency, make sure that you prepare for a natural disaster with this in mind. A good emergency kit should have clean drinking water for a week, non-refrigerated foods that are safe for your senior to eat, flashlights, a radio, and even a first aid kit. If the weather is cold, make sure you include warm clothes like coats and gloves in case heating goes out. If you’re worried about rain or floodwater, be sure to include raincoats and other waterproof gear.
2. Have an Action Plan
A written plan is a safe solution for making sure everyone knows what to expect in the event of a disaster. It’s important to know what to do, where to go, and who to contact before it becomes urgent. You can review this plan with your senior and anyone else who may be helping to care for them. Depending on the type and severity of the disaster, there might be different options in your plan, like whether to evacuate or shelter in place. Be sure to include these possibilities in your plan and let everyone know what to do in any event.
3. Prepare Medical Items
Medical items are of utmost priority during a natural disaster. Even if no one is injured, it is still essential to make sure that you are prepared with backups of all regular medication, hearing aids, glasses, and other medical supplies, as well as the necessary implements to store such items in case they need to be kept at a certain temperature. Also ensure that you will have access to all necessary medical devices like wheelchairs, walkers, and oxygen, including information like model number in case of evacuation.
4. Protect Documentation
Take steps to keep all important documentation safe during a natural disaster. Physical copies of documents should be stored in a waterproof bag, and each document should be photographed front and back and the images uploaded to a secure Cloud as backup. Examples of important documents include copies of medical insurance cards, a photo ID, list of medications, list of allergies to food or medicine, and family and/or medical contact information.
Here at MIR Senior Care Management & Care Consultants, we provide committed support for caregivers. If you’re struggling, need advice, or just someone to talk to, we can put you in touch with the help you need. Contact us today.