Disaster Preparedness For Alzheimer’s Patients A Safety Necessity

Disaster preparedness plans for caregivers need to be in place and ready to activate to protect vulnerable Alzheimer’s patients during disasters. This should cover emergency situations such as severe weather, fires, floods, earthquakes, and other similar high-stress situations.

 

The National Institute on Aging (NIA) highly recommends that caregivers as well as skilled nursing homes (NSF) prepare emergency kits and store them in a water-tight container. There should be one complete kit designated for each Alzheimer’s patient.

 

Caregivers should prepare emergency kits and store them in a watertight container. According to the NIA, each kit should contain the following items:

  • Incontinence undergarments, wipes, and lotions
  • Pillow, toy, or something the person can hold onto
  • Favorite snacks and high-nutrient drinks
  • Physician’s name, address, and phone number
  • Copies of legal, medical, insurance, and Social Security information
  • Waterproof bags or containers to hold medications and documents
  • Recent photos of the person
  • Warm clothing and sturdy shoes
  • Spare eyeglasses and hearing-aid batteries
  • Medications
  • Flashlights and extra batteries

 

 

disaster preparedness

 

 

 

Disaster Preparedness: Alzheimer’s High Anxiety

People with Alzheimer’s disease are very vulnerable. Any changes in their daily routine elicits a high level of anxiety. Their memory and reasoning impairments severely limit their ability to act rationally in a crisis.

If necessary, contact organizations such as FEMA ( Federal Emergency Management Agency ), and the American Red Cross for more information on putting together a disaster plan.

 

 

 Caregivers Take Note

The NIA stresses the importance of caregivers staying close to and with their Alzheimer’s patient at all times. Such patients are known to wander away at a moments notice.

 

Here are specific tips you should follow:

  • Enroll the Alzheimer’s patient in the MedicAlert® + Alzheimer’s Association Safe Return® Program—an identification and support service for people who may become lost.
  • Prepare for wandering. Place labels in garments to aid in identification. Keep an article of the person’s clothing in a plastic bag to help dogs find him or her.
  • Identify specific neighbors or nearby family and friends who would be willing to help in a crisis. Make a plan of action with them should the person with Alzheimer’s be unattended during a crisis. Tell neighbors about the person’s specific disabilities, including inability to follow complex instructions, memory loss, impaired judgment, disorientation, and confusion. Give examples of simple one-step instructions that the person may be able to follow.
  • Give someone you trust a house key and list of emergency phone numbers.
  • Provide local police and emergency services with photos of the person with Alzheimer’s and copies of his or her medical documents, so they are aware of the person’s needs.

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