When you consider that hurricane season can run for six months and snow storms for those in northern climates can last as long, it makes sense for families to plan for weather emergencies throughout the year. We all have so many items on our agendas when visiting and caring for aging relatives, that stocking cupboards and making plans in the event of a weather emergency might take a back burner until it’s too late.
Here are some tips to help you formulate a plan prior to needing one. An emergency plan will also help keep everyone calmer during the time when it’s needed.
Plan in advance. Where will your aging relative go if he or she needs to leave their home? Is there a shelter close by? Will they need to leave town? How will they get to the shelter and if they have special health needs will the shelter be able to accommodate them?
Who will help, if you can’t get there? Do you have friends or relatives that live in closer proximity upon whom you can call to help with the evacuation? If there isn’t an evacuation, will your go-to people be able to check on your aging relatives to make certain they are all right? Make certain your go-to people are physically capable of helping your relatives and that they have a key to their home.
Keep an emergency kit packed and ready to go. Have a bag for each person. Each kit should contain a change of clothes, personal hygiene supplies and their medications, medical and health insurance documents, legal documents and identification, phone number contact information for medical caregivers and family and emergency personnel. If your relatives have pets you will want to make an emergency pack for the pets as well. If your relatives don’t have enough medication to simply keep in an emergency pack, make certain their medications are all in one place and are easy to simply pack on the go.
Practice the emergency evacuation. Just as you practice with your family what would happen in the event of a fire at your home, you should be practicing an emergency evacuation with your aging loved ones. Make certain they know where their emergency packs are and are able to either get them on their own or are able to communicate to your go-to person where the kits are.
Keep the kitchen stocked with emergency supplies. In the event of an emergency without a necessary evacuation, make certain your parents have enough food on hand that can be opened and eaten without needing to be cooked (in the event the electricity goes out), have cases of bottled water on hand. Non-perishable food items should always be in ready supply regardless of the time of year. If you have the financial resources, you can check into equipping your relatives’ home with an emergency backup generator system.
No matter what happens or where your relatives may need to be relocated to during an emergency, they should bring their medical alert device along with them. Once the most critical emergency has passed, a phone call to the medical alert provider will update their information and location and they will still have access to this lifesaving technology.
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