Most times, a conversation about the weather is a welcome one. But what do you do when weather isn’t so friendly; be it a hurricane, heat wave or flood?
Create a plan now to ensure you and your aging family members are ready, regardless of the weather event. To get started, reach out to these five people for help and advice:
- Emergency Responders. Contact your local fire department to learn about emergency procedures specific to your family member's situation.
- Facility Administrator. If your family member is in a retirement community or assisted living facility, ask the administrator how the facility handles an emergency, how you'll be notified, how you can keep in touch with your family member and how you can help to ensure your family member's safety.
- Home Health Agency. If your loved one receives in-home care, ask the provider to explain how staffing will be managed during an emergency. Be prepared with a back-up in case the agency cannot provide your home health aide. If you hire your own caregivers, work with the caregivers to create an emergency plan, especially if there's a chance the caregivers will not be able to work. A back-up plan if you hire privately could include using a local home health agency.
- Pharmacist. At the start of the summer season, check-in with your family member's pharmacy to determine how you would go about getting medications or medical supplies, like oxygen, during an emergency.
- Neighbors and Other Family Members. Share your weather emergency plan with other family members and your aging relatives' neighbors. In case you can't be reached, you'll want others to know how they can manage your family member's care in your absence.
In addition to reaching out to the people above, if your aging relative lives alone or in a community, plan on keeping some of your clothes, toiletries and other necessities at his or her home. In the event you need to stay with your family member, you'll be prepared. Similarly, keep your family member's change of clothes, incontinence supplies, information about treatments, medications, doctors and insurance in your car as well as bottled water, flashlights, blankets and snacks.
As you put together your plan, take advantage of resources from U. S. Department on Aging, Centers for Disease Control and Alzheimer's Association.
Hopefully, you'll never need to act on your emergency plans. But if a weather emergency does happen, you'll be grateful to have everything in place.