Those with Alzheimer’s are especially affected by changes in their environment. When a disaster strikes, they are not always prepared, physically, mentally or emotionally, to proceed with the necessary steps that can lead them from harm to safety. Developing an emergency plan and having the necessary items on hand is critical for family caregivers of an aging parent with Alzheimer’s.
It’s difficult in everyday life to imagine an emergency interfering and threatening the lives and well-being of those we love. But, it happens. America faced 160 natural disasters in 2016 many of which came in the form of floods and fires.
The first step is to get to your elderly family member. You will want to set up a second contact for your parent—a neighbor that you have already asked to take your parent under their wing should an emergency arise and roads are impassable. In many instances, communication services may be down, which demonstrates the importance of having a plan set in place before a disaster occurs.
Know the nearest emergency shelter in case your parent is evacuated before you can get to them.
The Emergency Kit
Make your parent’s neighbor aware of the emergency kit that you have prepared for your parent. This should include a list of medications and their doses, the number of their physician, a few sets of clothes including items to keep them warm such as gloves and a hat, bottled water, non-perishable snacks, good walking shoes, a second set of eyeglasses and batteries for their hearing aid, a flashlight with extra batteries, a small photo book, an ID bracelet and incontinence products, if needed.
A change in environment can be difficult for someone with Alzheimer’s. Experiencing a natural disaster and the emotional traumas that are taking place in a shelter can be overwhelming. Hold their hand and reassure them that everything is going to be alright. Find the quietest place to wait with your parent. Maintaining a calm demeanor will go a long way in helping your aging parent feel more relaxed and at ease. When you see them getting agitated, redirect their attention by bringing out the photo book in the emergency kit, or taking a stroll on the outskirts of the building.
Home Care Provider
As a family caregiver, you have accepted a role that carries a wealth of responsibilities. In the midst of your daily tasks and activities, it’s important to remember to take time out, enjoy activities you love, and stay connected with other members of your family and friends. A home care provider can offer you the respite care you need to relax and recharge. Knowing your aging parent is in the hands of a professional who has cared for countless seniors facing this disease will help you rejuvenate worry free.
If you or an aging loved-one are considering home care in Cherry Hill, NJ, please contact the caring staff at TLC Home Care Services today. Call (856) 234-8700 for more information.
Kelly C. McCabe is a founding partner and co-owner of TLC HomeCare Services.She and her business partner,Patti Maltese founded TLC HomeCare Services in March of 2009.In addition to management, marketing and sales, staffing and recruiting, Kelly holds her New Jersey producer’s license in Health and Life insurance and is also a New Jersey Certified Home Health Aide.Kelly is the proud mother of two daughters and is a resident of Moorestown, NJ.