This weekend's hurricane watch is no surprise based on last year's freak Halloween snowstorm. Except Hurricane Sandy's fury brings stronger winds from the Caribbean rating it a Category 2 so far. What will your elderly parent do? Even the snowbirds are not down in Florida yet!
If you care for a senior it is vital to plan for emergencies. We are in prime storm season. Now is the time to be putting together potential plans for when a storm may hit, stocking up on supplies for the season and preparing a supply kit (as well as an “evacuation kit”).
Top 6 Storm Prep Tips:
1. Plan on home care! Discuss availability of staff, what you can expect, rates/arrangements. If you are a current client of Fairfield Family Care in Connecticut, we will be contacting you to complete your specific disaster plan and we welcome you to contact us with questions.
2. Get an emergency supply of medications. Insurance companies make provisions so that you can get supplies ahead of time. Plan for items that require refrigeration or special care.
3. Be realistic about a loved one’s ability to self-preserve in a storm situation at home alone. For situations in which one spouse or family member is caregiver for another, also consider the challenges that may arise during/after a storm. As long as a person is competent, he/she can refuse care, but continue to reinforce your concerns and insist on home care. Our caregivers know what to do in the event of a disaster, and can help prepare ahead for the storm such as: Take into account your loved one’s needs in planning. What equipment will you need to stock up on? Remember that emergency personnel may not be available as the storm nears, so if a person refuses to evacuate he or she cannot expect last minute assistance, unless you secure a caregiver specifically assigned to your loved one.
4. Be prepared how a storm effects will impact your loved one. For a person with a respiratory ailment or incontinence, or Alzheimer’s disease, the lack of lights, and change in routine can cause great anxiety.
5. Make sure any elderly or disabled loved ones are registered with the county emergency services. They should be aware of the person and his/her needs, even if this is only a backup plan.
6. Make a list of key contacts you can include in your storm kit (doctor, family members, healthcare providers, neighbors, etc.). Have this information, along with basic medical history and list of medications.
Yvonne Lederer is community affairs liason for Stamford-based Fairfield Family Home Care, which provides personal, non-medical home care.