I want to take a moment to talk about your emergency plan as a caregiver. Everyone should have an emergency plan. It’s especially important for families with young children, families with older children who may be away at college and caregiving families with loved ones living independently, in a facility or in the caregiver’s home. Hopefully, you are saying, “well, that’s just about everyone.” Because that is my point. EVERYONE should have an emergency plan. However, for this post, I’ll specifically address emergency plans as related to caregivers of the elderly and infirmed.
Step ONE–Make a plan. Take the time to sit down, consult the red cross, figure out what supplies you should have, where you’ll go, who you’ll call and where to meet if you get separated. Contact local police, utilities and advice them of the location of your loved one. If your loved one does not have a MedicAlert + safe return identification package, now is a great time to get enrolled.
Step TWO—Get help. You shouldn’t manage everyday life on your own as a caregiver. Read my lips on this one. If disaster strikes, you WILL NEED ASSISTANCE. You cannot manage an emergency or a disaster alone.
- Name a person to act on your behalf if you are separated from your loved one
- Give a trusted neighbor or friend a key to your loved one’s home
- Have a list of necessary equipment/medications in case evacuation is necessary
- If you can’t handle it, include a person or persons who can lift oxygen tanks, wheelchairs, and other necessary equipment
Step THREE–Figure out how to GET OUT
In most cases, you won’t know ahead of time which shelter to go to; however, keep your eyes and ears open so that you can contact your helpers and get out quickly.
I used to keep an emergency bag in my trunk. It included a list of medications, blanket, wipes, undergarments, change of clothing and some other items that I have forgotten. I never needed it for a major weather related disaster, but it was perfect for “everyday” disasters as well. Just be sure to replenish if you happen to use it.
Disaster experts all agree that if disaster is looming your gas tank should be full. I am the queen of riding on the two F’s Faith and Fumes. But, in bad weather, even I fill my tank to capacity.
Tomorrow, I’ll finish up with the last few steps for caregiver disaster preparation.
Do YOU have a plan?