Caring for seniors when natural disaster strike
Natural disasters can wreak havoc in even most prepared communities and cities. These disasters are hard to predict and you should ensure that the most vulnerable population, i.e. the seniors’ emotional and physical requirements are met when such unexpected event happens. Caregivers of the elderly in the family are required to make a thorough plan in advance to meet the needs of the seniors when a disaster strike and it is impossible to take care of them under normal conditions.
Have a specialized, thorough emergency plan in place
The initial step is to prepare a plan, which summarizes the individual requirements of your senior loved one. The emergency plan that you prepare will take into account all factors ranging from stocking up the medicines required by your loved one for survival to their disabilities.
Apart from basic emergency kits, seniors require a personalized plan for emergency that details the place to go at the time of a disaster, how to go there, what all things are required (such as extra oxygen, hearing aids, eyeglasses etc.) and whom should they call for assistance.
Help your seniors feel safeAvoid watching news in front of your seniors or the elderly persons you are providing care for. It may increase the nervousness and anxiety of any person who is already vulnerable such as the elderly. While instructing them and telling them the emergency plan speak in a tone which is authoritative but calm so that they feel safe.
Involve other members of the family
Ideally, several members of the family should be there to act on the emergency plan of action for the senior loved one. It’s imperative to involve your whole family to make sure that a single person doesn’t get involved in a challenging task. All persons of the family who are caring for the senior during a natural disaster should know the emergency plan and also about the contingencies in case there are changes in the health condition or in the condition of the natural disaster.
Also remember to involve your senior in the process of decision making as this ensures that their physical and emotional requirements are met.
Stock on extra medicinesMedicines are vital, particularly if the life of senior is dependent on them. It may be difficult to reach pharmacies during natural disasters. Hence, you should get the prescription of your seniors filled in advance. This small step can prove to be crucial for survival at the time of a natural disaster. Also ensure that you create a copy of the medical insurance of your senior as you may not be able to retrieve these documents after the natural disaster occurs.
Form support networkMake sure that your senior has created a support network (personal), which consists of several persons who know about their whereabouts and who will enquire about them while a disaster occurs, make sure they are not affected by it and provide help if required. This support network may include members from the family, roommates, neighbors, professional caregivers, co-workers etc.
Have a backup plan if your emergency plan fails
When a natural disaster occurs, even best plans can fail due to unforeseen challenges. Family members may get delayed from arriving to give care to their seniors due to severe weather conditions. In case your pre-established emergency plan fails, you should have knowledge about health care agencies that lie outside disaster struck area, which can help your senior loved one temporarily till the time you can reach and provide help to them.
Even though the techniques of weather prediction are quite advanced these days, still disaster may strike unexpectedly. To manage emergency situations, you should be prepared in advance. To keep your seniors safe during a disaster it is critical to involve them and their caregivers in the emergency care plan.