Sometimes a Survival Mom has to look around to see who might need some extra help in an emergency. Young children, invalids, and the elderly are especially vulnerable during tumultuous times. In 1995, I was in Chicago during one of their deadliest heat waves ever. Of the 600+ people who died, most were elderly. I remember thinking, “Why didn’t their families or neighbors check on them and help?”
Who in your life is elderly, sickly and/or disabled and might need some help during an emergency? A game plan needs to be put in order right away to provide a sense of security for everyone involved. I’ve put together this list of tips and suggestions to make sure that your Grandma is looked after, no matter what might happen.
NOTE: To make my job easier as a writer, I’m going to refer to the elderly person in your life as “Grandma”. No offense to Grandpa, Aunt Beryl or your neighbor, Zelda!
1. What medications is Grandma taking? Is it possible to get an additional 30-day supply? A reserve of life-saving medications should be a top priority. If something needs to be kept refrigerated, that should be noted and planned for.
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2. Make a list of each medication, the dosage, the doctor who prescribed it, and the name, address, and phone number of the pharmacy. Give a copy to Grandma and another family member or two, and keep a copy for yourself. This would be a good thing to have in your Grab-n-Go Binder.
3. What doctors does she see on a regular basis? Make a list of their names, specialties, addresses and fax and phone numbers. While you’re at it, make a copy of her Medicare and health insurance cards in case she’s ever incapacitated and you’re the one making medical decisions. Again, give her a copy and keep one in your Grab-n-Go Binder.
4. Does Grandma have someone designated with power of attorney? If so, that document should be readily available and up to date.
5. What routine could be established so you’re certain of her well-being each morning? With a neighbor, it could be a specific window blind being opened each morning or a morning phone call at a certain time each day could provide that reassurance.
6. Is there medical equipment she relies on? In an evacuation situation, would that equipment fit in your vehicle or hers’? Help her make a plan for evacuation that includes assistance from family members in the area. Check out Organize to Evacuate for a comprehensive, helpful plan.
7. If Grandma is a neighbor or family friend, make a point of meeting her family members, even if it’s just a phone conversation. Get their names, addresses and phone numbers. In an emergency, it might be important for you to know who to contact.
8. Put together a simple 72 Kit for her, including one she can keep in her vehicle, if she drives. Be sure to add items unique to her needs, such as a list of her doctors and medications, an extra pair of eyeglasses, and a light sweater.
9. If Grandma has a pet, talk with her about how she’ll care for it in an evacuation situation. Read my article, Evacuation Time? Don’t forget your pets, for some practical tips.
10. Electrical outages can be frightening to anybody. Make sure Grandma not only has candles, matches, and flashlights on hand but that she also knows exactly where to find them.
11. None of us would want to leave behind cherished photos and heirlooms. Help Grandma put these together in one container that can be packed up quickly. Make sure other family members know its’ whereabouts. Particularly valuable items should be kept in a safety deposit box.
12. Put yourself in Grandma’s place. In a crisis situation with events changing by the moment, what would you need for reassurance? When my grandmother became ill shortly before her death, it seemed like even the smallest changes in her routine were monumental to her. (I’m kind of like that now!) What else can you think of that will not only give her a sense of security but a plan of action as well?
Survival Moms tend to be very busy with multiple irons in the fire. Having an elderly family member can add to the stress of our everyday lives, much less during a disaster or emergency of some sort. By all means, include other concerned people in your planning. Nobody’s Grandma or Grandpa should be forgotten and left behind in a crisis.
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