No one wants to think the worst, but being prepared can be extremely helpful during stressful situations. For families and senior caregivers, an emergency plan can provide peace of mind and offer critical information to first responders better assist the patient. The emergency plan includes the senior’s documents and emergency kits ready to grab and go. Be sure you have all you need in the same place, so no extra time required to locate them.
If you are a hired caregiver, or your own loved one carer, here are some tips for organizing an emergency plan.
Have A Written Plan
Having your emergency plan written down is crucial. Sometimes the primary caregiver isn’t available, so anyone who is taking care of the senior should be capacitated and feel secure to act when needed.
Define the Emergency Team
Start by defining who will be part of the emergency team. Family, friends or neighbors that can give support as fast as possible in a necessity. It is convenient for the caregiver to know there is someone else who can step in for help, even if it is just to double check if all doors are locked after leaving the house in a hurry. Add all contact numbers on your written plan.
Have Daily Routine Notes
A routine is indispensable, especially for seniors who suffer from dementia. A structured and pleasant routine helps the elderly to know what to expect and feel better. Write down any particular diet, meals schedule, sleep pattern and share it with anyone who assists your loved one. Also, it is crucial to make notes about any habit changes, as for example if the senior starts to have trouble to sleep or eat. Inform these changes to the senior’s GP.
Have a copy of health insurance cards and ID always on hand. If needed, you can take the senior to the closest hospital and receive the proper treatment.
Medication List and Schedule
Have on your emergency plan all the medications and schedule they should be taken by the elderly. Add which physician prescribed it, and the pharmacy where they were filled. This is a piece of resourceful information for any first responders into an emergency.
Physicians and Medical Information
Have a list of doctors and their contacts. Keep notes on the medical history and treatments prescribed for each. Past illness, surgeries, allergies, and any diseases should be mentioned in this guide.
Have A “Go Bag” Ready
If your loved one needs to go to a hospital, be sure you have an assistance bag for them. This bag should contain all the items they might need during their stay. This could include personal hygiene products, change of clothes, an extra pair of eyeglasses, dentures, and batteries for any special electronic aid such as hearing. This will give them some comfort while staying in the hospital.
Remember also to include some items for the caregiver in this bag. Books, money for parking meters, teabags and some light snacks can also be handy for those assisting the senior. Try to think about all the things you might need and prepare both an emergency “go bag.”
Alert Medical Systems
It is not possible to predict when something wrong will happen, but it is great to know you will have assistance as fast as possible. Alert medical systems help seniors and caregivers to have a 24/7 medical aid at home. From falls injuries up to wandering problems, you or your senior can contact directly an emergency support team who will make a situation assessment, and request further assistance in severe cases. The system can be easily installed into the senior’s home. It usually contains a base station that connects to the monitoring center and an SOS button, which can come as a necklace or bracelet. A GPS tracking device can also be added, so you can quickly locate your loved one in case of wandering.
You don’t need to be thinking about emergencies all the time, but it is essential you are organized enough to handle things fast when needed. Have a specific location to always leave your house’s keys, your loved one’s emergency bags, documents and so on. You never know when you might need to leave the house in a hurry.
It is not easy to see your loved one going through rough times, and emotions can cloud your judgment during emergencies. This is why an emergency plan can help and provide more safety for all involved. You will need to put some effort into organizing everything, but for sure it will compensate in the future.
About the author: Anna Short is caregiver for her mother with dementia, writer and sewist. When not working, she’s spending time with her family or putting pen to paper for her own personal pursuits. Annabelle is passionate about dementia care and accessing the best careviging resources.
Medical Disclaimer: By reading this blog, I acknowledge that I am
not creating or entering a clinical or medical relationship with Dr.
DenBoer and SMART Brain Aging. I understand that all materiel included
in this blog is strictly for informational purposes only. The content is
to provide me with information and knowledge and I will not substitute
it for diagnosis, treatment or medical advice. I am aware the author
does not hold a medical degree or license and is simply providing me
additional information on a variety of health topics.