Hurricane Preparedness

Disaster situations, such as hurricanes, can have a significant impact on everyone’s safety, but they can be especially upsetting and confusing for individuals with dementia. Being prepared in case of an emergency is crucial. Now — as the peak of the North Atlantic hurricane season approaches ΓÇô is a good time to develop an emergency disaster plan.

Plan Ahead

It is essential to prepare early so items you need are easily accessible before and after a storm. Along with the Red CrossΓÇÖ hurricane preparation tips, the AlzheimerΓÇÖs Association has some additional things to consider when caring for someone with AlzheimerΓÇÖs.

  • Make an emergency plan.
  • Take specific needs, like walkers or portable oxygen, into account. Make sure emergency evacuation plans accommodate these needs.
  • Identify those who will help you, such as friends and relatives, as well as back-up health care providers.
  • Learn how to get prescriptions and care. Medicare beneficiaries have special rights to get out-of-network care if they live in an area where the President has declared a disaster.
  • Consider enrolling the person in a safety programs like MedicAlert┬« + Alzheimer’s Association Safe Return┬«.
  • Make sure medical records are accessible, especially to alternative caregivers and relatives.
  • Know your evacuation route.
  • If you have a cell phone, store your emergency contact numbers including your local AlzheimerΓÇÖs Association.┬á Have an additional pre-charged battery.
  • Pre-register at your countyΓÇÖs special needs shelter in case you need to evacuate to a shelter.

Emergency Kits

Every person, young and old, should have a disaster supply kit on hand in the event of an emergency. Along with the Red CrossΓÇÖ suggested supplies like flashlights, batteries and water the AlzheimerΓÇÖs Association recommends a few extra items to keep on hand when caring for a person with dementia during a hurricane.

  • Copies of important documents, such as legal papers, list of medications and insurance information.
  • Several sets of clothing.
  • Extra medications.
  • Incontinence products.
  • ID items ΓÇô medic alert, clothing labels, state-issued identification card.
  • A recent picture of the person with dementia.

Tips for Caregivers

Families and caregivers of persons with memory disorders need to know how to address the special needs of a person with AlzheimerΓÇÖs during an emergency. Here are some tips for preventing and handling agitation during a hurricane.

  • Reassure the person. Hold hands or put your arm on his or her shoulder. Say things are going to be fine.
  • Find outlets for anxious energy. Take a walk together or engage the person in simple tasks.
  • Redirect the personΓÇÖs attention if he or she becomes upset.
  • Move the person to a safer or quieter place, if possible. Limit stimulation.
  • Make sure the person takes medications as scheduled.
  • Schedule regular meals and maintain a regular sleep schedule.
  • Pay attention to cues that the person may be overwhelmed (fidgeting, pacing).
  • If the person is agitated remember to use calm, positive statements and respond to the emotions expressed rather than the content of the words.
  • Avoid detailed explanations.
  • Provide additional assistance with all activities of daily living.

Resources

In the event of a hurricane, it is important to remember that you are not alone and help is available.

 

AlzTex Admin

The Alzheimer's Association Houston & Southeast Texas Chapter (www.alz.org/texas) consists of families, caregivers, scientists, health professionals, and concerned citizens who are committed to finding a cure for Alzheimer's Disease and to easing the burden of Alzheimer's Disease and related disorders on patients and their families and loved ones.