Eldercare Tips for Disaster Preparedness


Whether your parent is still in an independent living situation or another senior living setting, part of your eldercare responsibilities include being prepared in case of a disaster such as fire, hurricane, flood, or other event.

Here are some eldercare tips for disaster preparedness adapted from the Alzheimer's Association:

Know Your Plan

  • If your parent is still in an independent living situation, map out a plan for evacuation and determine where you and your parent will go for shelter.
  • If your parent is in another senior living situation, talk to the facility and learn about its evacuation plan so that you know what to expect.
  • Be sure to enroll in an eldercare service such as MedicAlert so that your parent can be located during a disaster and so his or her medical information is available in case of an emergency.

Assemble an Emergency Kit

  • Include a few sets of clothing and shoes.
  • If you can, include extra medications or at least a list of medications and dosages along with your parent's eldercare contacts.
  • Pack important documents that you might need such as power of attorney, Social Security cards, insurance records, and extra identification.
  • If your parent is incontinent, don't forget senior living products such as adult incontinence products.
  • Include bottled water and nonperishable foods.
  • Make sure that everything is stored in a watertight container.

If Danger Is Imminent...

  • Take your parent to a safe place, either chosen by you or your parent's senior living facility.
  • Leave town early if you think that there will be traffic and other delays.
  • If you can, stock up on extra medications, oxygen, or any other eldercare supplies your parent might need.
  • Keep family members in the loop about where you and your parent are traveling and staying until you can return home again.

Stay Calm and Alert

  • As your parent's eldercare provider, it's important to stay calm, alert, and reassuring during a disaster, especially if your parent has a memory disorder such as Alzheimer's disease.
  • Regardless of where you are staying, notify key personnel of any health problems of your parent's that may affect his or her behavior or needs at the shelter.
  • Don't leave your parent unattended if he or she has a memory impairment.
  • Be sure to take good care of yourself during the disaster so you can stay calm and reassuring for your parent.

Have you already been through a disaster while providing eldercare for your parent? If so, what tips do you have for other caregivers? Post a comment to this blog, and be sure to sign up for our RSS Feed to receive regular updates about new eldercare topics posted on EldercareABC.com.

--Carrie L. Hill, Ph.D