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Disaster Planning

Some folks here in the U.S. are in the midst of what is being described as one of the strongest storms to hit the East coast in a very long time, or possibly that has ever been experienced.  The thought of mandatory evacuations of New York City and nearby areas is staggering, to say the least.  I can’t imagine how hard it would be to coordinate such a thing for anyone, but to do so when a family member has dementia — or any serious health concern — could be a real nightmare.  I came across a list of things that could be done to prepare for a disaster, and thought it timely to share here.

First of all, it’s important to plan ahead.  Take into account any special needs that those in your family has.  (Think about diabetics who will need access to insulin, or someone who is dependent upon oxygen, or any potential health concern that might arise.)  Identify those who might help you; decide where you will go if the need arises, and figure out the best way to get there.  Keep a list of everyone’s medications, and plan how you might be able to get more if you need to.  (I wasn’t aware that Medicare makes provisions for getting medications out-of-network in an emergency.)  Consider enrolling in a program such as those offered by the Alzheimer’s Association, or other organizations, that will help to locate your loved one if necessary.   Make sure that medical records are available — there are apps now that will allow you to store such things on your phone or tablet, and I know of people who keep a binder ready with necessary forms and information, that can be grabbed up at a moment’s notice.

It is also important to prepare an emergency kit, and keep it where you can grab it quickly if needed.  Some items that would be good to keep in such a kit include:

—  Copies of important documents:  legal documents, medications, insurance information, etc.

—  Several sets of extra clothing

—  Extra medication

—  Incontinence products

—  Identification items, such as tags and clothing labels

—  A recent picture of the person with dementia

—  Bottled water

—  Flashlight, with plenty of extra batteries

—  Favorite items or foods

(Thanks to http://www.alz.org)

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