Emergency Planning for Natural Disasters

One of Caregiverlist's Senior Home Care Agencies is located in Waterloo, Iowa, and has had to meet the challenge of providing care services while flood waters were rising.  The Senior Helpers franchise owner offered free caregiving services to seniors in his community during the flood crisis.

It seems family members are confronted with so many challenges when managing care for a loved one, that sometimes they forget about making sure the basic emergency plans are in place.  Organizing an emergency plan for an aging parent can make it easier for everyone to weather the storm when it hits.

I know we all like to think natural disasters will never strike us.  However, it is a good idea to plan, just in case, because tornadoes and hurricanes and floods really do happen,even in the middle of Iowa which is in a 500-year flood plain. 

Here are a few simple items that most Senior Home Care Agencies check for when they start senior care services for a new client:

Senior Care Emergency Planning Checklist

-Flashlight with working batteries or matches and candles located where the Caregiver will easily find them

-Heating and Air Conditioning system controls (is the water heater in the basement? etc.) and service contacts if they have problems

-Emergency Contacts: phone numbers for reaching the family decisionmaker for emergencies and a back-up contact person if the first person is unreachable at all contact numbers

-Insurance: know where to locate all insurance policies and have name, phone numbers and policy number for each type of insurance

-Medical Doctors:  name, address and phone number for all doctors

-Medications:  names of all medications and schedule for taking them along with the contact information for the doctor who wrote the prescription and for the pharmacy

-Evacuation plan:  where would the senior go if they needed to leave their home during an emergency?

Formulating a game plan and communicating it will make it easier to react to an emergency.

When I owned a Senior Home Care agency we had a client with M.S. who was a smoker.  Even though she was not supposed to smoke when she was alone, she did so and caught her bathroom on fire.  We moved her to a hotel nearby and then assisted her to find an apartment to rent while her condo was being renovated.  She did not have any family members she could stay with and also required a location with wheelchair access that would allow her to smoke.  She did not have a plan in place so we had to improvise as best we could which meant renting an apartment in an area away from her neighborhood and her friends.  Perhaps if a plan had been made ahead of time, she would have had a temporary living location in her usual neighborhood.





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Comments (3) -

  • Tim Colling

    6/22/2008 3:15:41 PM | Reply

    That's a nice set of suggestions.  We do something similar in our home care agency in Northern San Diego County.  Regarding the evacuation center: out here, the "standard evacuation point" is normally the nearest public high school.  This may true in other parts of the country.
    Tim Colling
    A Servant's Heart Senior Care

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