Thinking about your elderly loved one being involved in an emergency or disaster can be upsetting, but as a family caregiver it is your responsibility to make sure that your loved one is properly prepared to handle them should they arise. Simply by taking the time to integrate disaster preparedness into your care routine with them, you can help your aging loved one feel far more confident and give yourself peace of mind that if an emergency or weather disaster occurred, you would know how to respond effectively.
Top tips from the American Red Cross for ensuring that your elderly loved one is prepared for an emergency include:
- Pack an emergency kit. Your parent should have access to basic supplies and tools that they might need to get them through an emergency situation if there was no running water, no electricity, the need to evacuate, or other issues. This kit should have everything that they would need for at least 2 weeks if they are planning on staying at home throughout the emergency, or 3 days if they are going to evacuate.
- Maintain the kit. Having what your parent needs does not just stop with packing their emergency kit. Since these kits are not used often, it is crucial that you take the time to maintain them properly on a regular basis. This includes checking their contents to make sure that they are not expired and are in good condition, and ensuring that all of the items that are supposed to be in the kit remain there. Remind your parent that everything that is in the kit is only for use during an emergency, not just whenever they might want to use something.
- Make it personalized. No one emergency kit will work for all people. It is important that your loved ones kit is designed with them as an individual in mind. Work with them to choose items that they would most want to use, such as their favorite non-perishable, no-preparation foods, and the first aid and medication supplies that they trust the most.
- Create a plan for evacuation. In some emergencies it becomes necessary to evacuate the home and seek shelter elsewhere. Make this possibility seem less daunting by creating a plan. Find out where the closest emergency shelters are and also select a few alternative places where you might be able to go, such as the homes of family or friends. Get a map and highlight the routes to these places and include this in the emergency kit.
- Keep your parent informed. The first step in being ready for an emergency is knowing that it is coming. While it is not always possible to prepare for every disaster or emergency that might come along, most weather emergencies do come with some level of warning. Encourage your parent to stay up-to-date on the weather and to watch the news regularly to ensure they know if their area is facing potential damage or the need to evacuate.
Starting elder care for your aging loved one can be one of the best decisions that you can make for them as their family caregiver. An elderly home care services provider can be with your parent on a customized schedule to ensure that they get the level of care, support, and encouragement that they need throughout their later years to remain happy, healthy, comfortable, and safe, while also pursuing as much independence and activity as possible. When it comes to helping them handle emergency situations, this elder care provider can help your parent understand the risks that they are facing, ensure that they have the emergency preparation supplies that they might need to help them through the situation, and even plan preparedness activities such as running drills to help with the possibility of evacuation or other disasters. When it comes to preparing your loved one for an emergency situation, it is important to consider them as an individual, and a care provider can be invaluable at helping your parent create the preparations that are right for them. As a family caregiver this can give you a tremendous sense of relief knowing that if your elderly parent does face a disaster situation, they will be ready to do what they need to do to get through it in the best way possible.
If you or an aging family member are considering hiring elder care in Islip Town, NY, please call the caring staff at A Gentle Touch Senior Home and Health Care at 631-647-7622 today.