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A Caregiver’s Natural Disaster Prep List

Posted By Sally Abrahms On May 10, 2012 @ 8:30 am In Take Care | Comments Disabled

Photo by taberandrew via creativecommons.org [1]

Photo by taberandrew via creativecommons.org

Live in a hurricane area with an older relative? Does your parent or someone else you’re responsible for? The hurricane season is six months long (June 1 to Nov. 30); and you as a caregiver [2] needs a substantive plan.

You know how mothers-to-be have their bags packed and their route to the hospital mapped out? If an older adult lives with you, nearby, or at a distance, having the same mindset makes sense.

Creating contingency plans-where your family member or friend will go, what they’ll need to bring, and who will take them-will ensure the best outcome possible and help keep the calm.

These four tips work for tornadoes, hurricanes, earthquakes and other emergencies:

1. Think about it: Where will your loved one go if he/she needs to leave the house quickly? Out of town or the nearest shelter? There also may be a emergency shelter for special needs in the area. Know how to get there. Gas in the tank helps. Do they have a pet? Make a plan for their evacuation [3] too.

2. ID your go-to people: Who will take them to safety? Even if they live with or near you, you may not be around when it’s time to vacate. Talk over disaster plans with a friend, family member, or neighbor who could step in. Caregiver No. 1 may not be available; have backup helpers who can do the job (i.e. are strong enough to lift a wheelchair or walker into the car.) They need a key to the house and instruction on where to find the evacuation bag.

Have a central person-you? -who is notified where they’re going. Before there’s a problem, let the county emergency services know if your parent is elderly or disabled.

3. Make a list of what you’ll need and pack that emergency bag now [4]. It should have:

  • spare clothes for the care recipient
  • supplies they use (personal hygiene products or pills)
  • legal and medical documents
  • health insurance info
  • a list of family, friends, and neighbors with phone numbers, email, etc.
  • tips for comforting the recipient when they’re anxious (a favorite object, soothing music)
  • medication.

Get an extra supply of medicine and pill splitter, perhaps. Once you’ve scoped out where you’ll go, locate the nearest pharmacy in case you need a medication refill.

If indicated, have a health care proxy so you will have access to your parent’s medical records. How about legal guardian or power of attorney [5] papers? Consult a family or legal aid lawyer.

In the get-away bag, tape items you’ll put in at the last minute such as hearing aids or eyeglasses.

4. Play out the scenario. Pretend that you or your parent knows a hurricane is on its way. Whatever is missing from your plan, add in post-haste.

Be sure to browse these two must-read resources from FEMA  [6]and the American Red Cross [7]. If you live in a neighborhood or attend a church with many older residents, you can use AARP’s Create the Good Hurricane Prepare [8] toolkit to help them prepare.

Hope you never need it, but just in case, save this post. And get packing!

Follow Sally  at www.sallyabrahms.com [9] or on Twitter @sallyabrahms [10].

Article printed from AARP: http://blog.aarp.org

URL to article: http://blog.aarp.org/2012/05/10/sally-abrahms-caregivers-hurricane-prepare-list/

URLs in this post:

[1] Image: http://blog.aarp.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/05/abrahms-hurricane-evac-route.jpg

[2] caregiver: http://www.aarp.org/home-family/caregiving/?cmp=SN-BLOG-PJS

[3] a plan for their evacuation: http://www.aarp.org/home-garden/housing/info-03-2010/plan-in-advance-to-protect-your-pets-when-the-storm-comes.html?cmp=SN-BLOG-PJS

[4] pack that emergency bag now: http://www.ready.gov/basic-disaster-supplies-kit

[5] power of attorney: http://www.aarp.org/money/estate-planning/info-03-2009/faq_power_of_attorney.html?cmp=SN-BLOG-PJS

[6] FEMA : http://www.ready.gov/

[7] American Red Cross: http://www.redcross.org/www-files/Documents/pdf/Preparedness/Fast%20Facts/Disaster_Preparedness_for_Srs-English.revised_7-09.pdf

[8] AARP’s Create the Good Hurricane Prepare: http://createthegood.org/toolkit/operation-hurricane-prepare

[9] www.sallyabrahms.com: http://www.sallyabrahms.com/

[10] @sallyabrahms: http://twitter.com/sallyabrahms

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