The safety and well-being of our loved ones who reside in senior living is always a priority. Most of us probably concern ourselves with the activities of their daily living. However, we should also be prepared for other, less expected events.
With recent, debilitating effects of Hurricane Harvey, it’s important to consider plans in case of a facility-wide evacuation. Recently, I received a call from the assisted living community where my father resides, asking if I would be the one to come and get my father in case of an emergency evacuation, or if I would prefer him to be transferred to their partner facility. My initial thought was, “Of course I would come and get him. I couldn’t imagine being away from him.”
At the same time, I’m glad I took a moment to consider how this would affect my father. There are certain logistics he needs maintained on a daily basis to ensure his overall well-being. The first thing I considered is the accessibility of our home. My father would not be able to use our bathroom because of the size of the door. In addition, his health plan requires specialized care that I am not capable of performing myself, or without the proper equipment.
If you’re thinking that it would be best to have your loved one at home, make sure you can provide that care with minimal disruption to his or her routine. For example, if your loved one has dementia, any change in routine or care can be a potential health hazardous. Even though moving your loved one to another facility that specializes in memory issues could still be an added stress, remember that the professionals are specially trained.
My suggestion is that you meet with the director of nursing and learn about the facility’s disaster plan. Ask how you will be notified and what is expected of you in case of an emergency. Double check that you have the correct contact information and a backup in case cell service is not available.
If you are choosing to take your loved one with you during a disaster, make sure you consider care needs such as toiletry items, medications and special diet. When looking for a new home for your love one, do not be afraid to ask them to share disaster plans and make sure you have the numbers of partner facilities readily available. Keeping residents safe is the community’s priority, and communication between caregivers and families is key. FBN
By Leah Veschio