What if you were seriously injured in a car accident? Had a sudden heart attack? Become seriously ill? The number one thing that most concerns caregivers is: What if something happens to me?
80% of caregivers experience a major medical event prior to the person receiving care. Planning for an emergency that might never happen – and that we certainly hope will never happen – may not seem like a priority. But it should be.
No one knows your situation better than you. So, you are in the best position to plan ahead. It is worth the Effort!
No doubt about it, it will take some time and effort on your part! BUT…. It will give you peace of mind knowing you are prepared! You will be providing critical information in order for 1 st Responders to provide the best care to your CR (Care Receiver).
- Emergency Card for Wallet
- Discussion with Emergency Care Team
- Daily “To Go” Bag
- Emergency “To Go Bag” – Make sure it is visible & accessible
- Written Plan
Documents you will need
- POA (Health Care & Financial), Will
- HIPAA Authorization
- Current Medication List
- List of Home Care agencies contact information that you are currently using
Who should 1 st responders contact? Family? Friend? Facility?
Have you discussed your plan with those you have named?
Do they know your CR (Care Receiver’s) daily routine?
If it is a Friend – do they know how to reach extended family?
Have these above mentioned helpers been given a HIPAA Authorization to speak to your doctors? Know
Does the Power of Attorney have an “activated” POA? (2 Doctors)
If the CR is going to a Care Facility have your toured the facility? Toured with your CR?
Have you pre-registered? Has the facility done a Health Assessment? Do they have a copy of Advance Directives?
Is your CR aware of this plan?
Has payment routine been discussed and handled? HIPAA Consent Form FCA (Family Caregiver Alliance) Emergency Preparedness (aoa.acl.gov)
1. Prepare- Emergency Bag ready & easily identifiable
2. Put emergency team together
3. Take stock in your current situation
4. Have “Family Meeting” with all involved
5. Put plan in writing –
6. Do a practice run through
Things your Emergency Plan must include
1. Physical Health Info & Current Medication List
2. Mental Health Concerns (Anxiety/ Depression/Behaviors (Sun downing)
3. Every day routines (Wakes up at ___ , ____Has for breakfast, enjoys doing___)
4. Safety concerns (Needs walker, hearing aids, Bed rails, shouldn’t be left alone)
5. Finances – Banks account to draw from (Could have cosigned checks) Debit Card
6. Insurance Card ( Photo copy both front & back sides)
7. Legal Matters (Living Will, Advance Directives)
8. Interests and Lifestyle (Likes Bath in AM, enjoys playing Cards, Like to be outside)
Emergency Plans are Crucial for Caregivers – AgingCare.com
Checklist: Emergency Planning for Seniors
- Wheelchairs: If your parent is in a wheelchair or has mobility problems, plan for how he or she will evacuate. If they use a motorized wheelchair, have a manual wheelchair or transport chair on hand as a backup.
- Durable medical equipment: Most emergency shelters do not have durable medical equipment available on site. You must bring your own. This includes therapeutic oxygen, walkers, rollators, special aids and diabetic needs.
- Visual aids: For a loved one who is blind or visually impaired, keep an extra cane by their bed and attach a whistle to it (can use whistle instead of calling out). Remind your loved one to exercise caution when moving during or immediately after an emergency, as paths may have become obstructed.
- Hearing aids: Individuals who are hearing impaired should keep extra batteries for hearing aids with emergency supplies. Store hearing aids in a container in the senior's nightstand so they can be located quickly after in the event of an emergency.
- Have ID information on hand for the elderly person as well as copies of relevant emergency documents, including evacuation plans and an emergency health information card.
- Talk to their doctor about stocking up on at least week’s supply of all their prescription medications.
- Make sure elders know where the first aid kit and emergency supplies are located. Make sure they are readily accessible.
- Establish a communication plan. Your family may not be together when disaster strikes, so plan how you will contact one another. Keep in mind that internet and phone lines may be down for some time. Ask a neighbor to check on them when possible.
- If your loved one has cognitive impairments, know that even cognitively impaired people oftentimes have an innate understanding that something is wrong. Remain calm during an emergency. Explain what is happening clearly and simply, but don't expect them to remember specific details. Validate their concerns, but provide clear direction without condescending or losing patience.
- If your elderly loved one lives at home alone and receives assistance from a home health agency or service, find out how they respond to an emergency. Designate backup or alternative providers that you can contact in an emergency.
- If your loved one lives in a nursing home or assisted living facility, check their website for updates and 800-numbers that are typically established for communication with families.
This is a helpful site:
Other things to consider:
Locate and test turning off the Main Water and Gas valves