Practical Tips on Preparing for Elder Emergencies

Practical Tips on Preparing for Elder Emergencies

Seen the photos of nursing home residents sitting in waist deep water? Watch the elderly couple’s daughter flag down a CNN crew to rescue them from rising waters? These are examples of how devastating emergencies can be magnified when they involve the elderly, the infirm or the immobile. Practical Tips on Preparing for Elder Emergencies

With a few minutes of your time and their help, your elder can be prepared for any kind of emergency, reducing your worry and their exposure. Should an emergency situation arise, your elders will be in a much better situation when you take them through these simple steps now.
Stay ahead of the storm with preparation for your elders:

  • Make sure your elders have their paperwork in an easy-to-retrieve place (power of attorney, advance directive, wills, marriage certificate, birth certificates, DOD discharge papers, insurance policies, etc.) Put in a Ziploc bag, waterproof container or fireproof safe. Important to include as well – copies of their drivers’ licenses, Medicare and supplemental insurance cards, current medication list.
  • Make copies of these papers and give to siblings, keep one yourself and put one in a safe deposit box.
  • Make extra keys to your elders’ house. You keep one and put one outside their house (hidden, but easy to retrieve in an emergency). Give one to a trusted neighbor.
  • Put names, phone numbers and addresses of several of your elders’ neighbors in your phone. Make sure they have your contact info too. Ask if they will check on your elders in the event of an emergency.
  • Place a copy of your elders’ medication list, their advance directive and copies of their medical insurance cards in a Ziploc bag and tape to front of the refrigerator.   EMTs and other first responders know to look there for important papers before they transport elders.
  • If your elder is a resident in a facility such as a nursing home or assisted living, ask the facility to give you their evacuation plan. How will they move residents to safety in case of fire, flood or other life-threatening event? How will they contact you if this happens?
  • Take time to scan important photos and paperwork into your computer. Put these on a thumb drive or disk and place in a safe place (a safe deposit box, if possible).
  • Take photos periodically of your elders’ home, apartment or residence, their belongings, even their vehicle and keep for insurance documentation.
  • Scan a copy of your elders’ insurance policy. Keep their agent’s contact info in the same document.
  • Add your name and/or a sibling’s name as authorized user on your elders’ financial accounts. You’ll have to make a trip to the bank or financial institution with your elder to do this. If something happens and you need to write a check or pay a bill online, you will have the proper permission to access the account. Your elder can remove the approval for this at any time, if they are uncomfortable with the thought of someone else on their account. They remain the primary responsible account owner – you are simply authorized to access the account.
  • Keep property deeds in a safe deposit box or, at the very least, in a watertight container or fireproof safe inside their home. Practical Tips on Preparing for Elder Emergencies

Staying ahead of the next eldercare emergency gives you some peace of mind about their safety and security.   But, it also allows you to focus more on the care and less on panic when the inevitable emergency does arise (health, fall, natural disaster or any other). Practical Tips on Preparing for Elder Emergencies
Author Suzanne Blankenship

Practical Tips on Preparing for Elder Emergencies 

Practical Tips on Preparing for Elder Emergencies Practical Tips on Preparing for Elder Emergencies Practical Tips on Preparing for Elder Emergencies Practical Tips on Preparing for Elder Emergencies Practical Tips on Preparing for Elder Emergencies Practical Tips on Preparing for Elder Emergencies

About the Author

Kimberly Johnson

As Director of Sales and Marketing, Kimberly Johnson is passionate about providing Seniors with the resources and products to live well.  Kimberly is a seasoned caregiver to her family and breast cancer survivor.  Her father battled ALS, Lou Gehrig’s disease and she was a primary caregiver.  Today Kimberly lives in Southern California near her 104-year-old grandmother, widowed mother, a mentally disabled sister and second sister who is also a breast cancer survivor.  She is happily married to her husband of 24 years and they have 3 children.

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