Our hearts go out to the people suffering from the effects of Hurricane Ida in Louisiana right now. Hurricane season is both predictable and yet spontaneous, but in either case, it requires preparation. But what can or should caregivers do about it? Caregivers are an integral part of preparedness for the patient and the home.
Hurricane Season Preparedness Tips for Caregivers
Importance of Preparing
When a hurricane strikes it’s too late to consider what should be done for preparation. Add to that possible power outages, limited supplies of food and water, not to mention health needs or issues that exist prior to the storm. Creating a plan ahead for as much as possible can make all the difference for your patient or loved one.
Things to do Before Hurricane Season
Speak With the Family of Your Patient or Your Loved One
Does the family have a plan in effect for their loved one in case of a storm? They may already have a full plan in place, but if not, you can ask them specific questions to assist in putting together a plan. If they have a plan in place, be sure you understand fully what the plan is and what your role in it is. Know who your family contact person is and how you will communicate.
If you work with a patient via an agency, speak with a supervisor or your Coordinator to understand what the agency’s protocol is during hurricane season.
Determine Where To Be During the Storm
Will you stay in the home or plan to evacuate? If you choose to evacuate, be sure you’ve got a specific plan as to where you will go and how you will get there. Where is the nearest shelter or safe place to be? What is the exact route that should be taken and how will you go? Do you drive or is there a driver in the home?
If the plan is to evacuate, what supplies will you take with you? In addition to regular items like extra clothing and personal hygiene items, think of special caregiving items that you will need for your patient, such as cleaning and sanitizing items, incontinence items or anything else that is relevant for your patient. Pack a bag and keep it in a place that everyone is aware of.
If there are pets in the home, what role do they play in the evacuation plan? Do they have a carrier and where is it? Does the shelter you plan to evacuate to accept pets?
Staying in the Home
If the plan is to stay in the home, then discuss with the family where the safest places to be are. A good rule is to stay away from windows and if the storm is aiming directly for your area, take refuge in the bathroom or a basement. Monitoring the weather via an old school battery operated radio is the most effective when the power and possibly internet is out.
If the power goes out, what are the expectations on you as the caregiver? Who will communicate with the power company? If the patient lives in an assisted/senior living facility, who is the contact person?
Home Emergency Kit
One of the easiest things to do is to discuss with the family if they have emergency supplies and if not, to offer assistance in putting some together. This would be extra water and food that can be eaten if there is no power to cook, but would also include home safety items. Emergency hurricane season supplies should be sufficient for at least 14 days:
- Candles, flashlights and batteries
- Manual can opener
- Back-up medications
- Back-up pet food
- Pantry items that can be eaten without cooking – Click here for a helpful list.
- Back-up water – 1 gallon of drinking water per person per day
Pro-Tips for Caregivers
If your patient or loved one is an Alzheimer’s patient, it might be worth discussing getting an Alzheimer bracelet or necklace for the patient in case of evacuation and/or separation. These are helpful for daily living, but can be critical during emergencies. Have a further look here for more information.
The Eldercare Locator can also assist in finding emergency services near you. Click here and enter your Zip Code to find services near you. They have also published a preparedness list here with additional phone numbers of emergency services for seniors.
While planning ahead or having these conversations with family members may be challenging but will provide peace of mind that you and your patient will be ready, when hurricane season comes.
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Do you have questions about how you can better support your loved one while they age in place in South Florida or regarding homecare in general? Please contact CareGivers of America here: Contact or call us toll free: 800-342-4197
*No information in this article is to be taken as advice, medical or otherwise. This post is not sponsored, but may contain external links to websites, articles or product examples. External links are used for example or refence purposes only and these links do not indicate specific product or website endorsement by CareGivers of America.