Today marks a day I, and everyone who watched the events unfold on TV or in person, will never forget. Lots of initiatives have now been tied to this day (Patriot Day, lots of good works ideas), but I want to suggest another easy one: use 9/11 every year to remind yourself to be ready in a disaster, not unlike we use daylight savings time changes to change our smoke alarm batteries.
If you are a caretaker of a loved one with dementia, your needs are more complex than most. My suggestion is to look closely at the DHSS Ready in 3 program and tailor it to your specific needs. The Cliff’s Notes of this program are simple. There are three steps to get ready for a disaster: Create a disaster plan for yourself that matches your needs, gather together a emergency kit and have a plan to get disaster information (Weather Radio, regular radio?). SeniorAge, the wonderful non-profit who employs me, won an award this week for our work from the National Weather Service/NOAA for helping people (particularly seniors and those in a socially-vulnerable populations such as non-English speakers, those with a disability, homeless folks, and others) prepare in the event of a disaster.
A few questions to consider:
- Do you have a location you can shelter you and your loved one in a tornado? (A basement, a neighbor’s with a basement?) Shelters with lots of people, pets, etc…may not be very “dementia-friendly”, if you will.
- Do you have your med list somewhere easy to find? Keep it in your emergency kit perhaps with a few days worth of medicine (dated, in a baggie) that can get you by until authorities have a handle on the scope of disaster you face.
- Do you have transportation and backup transportation available to safe locations?
- Can you bring required equipment to your safe space? (Wheelchair, walker, oxygen bottle, etc…)
- Can you physically get your loved on in and out of the safe space?
- Others as found on the HDSS site and our COVER website. The Red Cross, FEMA and Homeland Security also have valuable information in this area.
- Any other tips from you guys? I will add them 🙂
Disasters and emergencies come and they are super hard, especially for those in populations we have talked about. The better you plan, the easier it will be when the going gets rough. Take some time today, 9/11/19, and every year on this day, to take inventory of what you will do in an emergency. 🙂 You matter to me and to many, many people!
Update: I had a nice, three-hour visit with mom yesterday. We didn’t say much, but communicated plenty. All is going ok as of today and I am hoping she perks up a little again soon. For her and the Sweet 17, in the nursing home, the range of emergencies are nearly all tied to their condition. The home seems pretty prepared. Are you prepared? If not, do so today. 🙂
Last quick side-note: Are you unsure of whether you or a loved one has dementia? Is there a lingering thought that perhaps you/they do? Click here for a checklist I adapted from the Alzheimer’s Association of how to talk through this emergency. Being prepared for this hot mess of a disease is very, very helpful!