Preparing Your Aging Loved One for an Emergency or Evacuation

Don’t wait to prepare for the next disaster. Whether it is a hurricane, heat wave, blizzard, tornado or even an earthquake, it can rattle even the most organized person. That is why we want to talk to you about preparing your aging loved ones, especially those with dementia or Alzheimer’s before the next disaster.

First and Foremost

It is important to attain a copy of the emergency and evacuation plans of the residential building, assisted living center, adult community center or nursing home that your loved one is living in.  If they are in their own home, it is important to help them create one.

Why? Just last month in Franklin, TN there was a bombing attempt at a nursing home due to a disgruntled employee’s ex-boyfriend. Police were able to dismantle the bomb, and all residents were safely evacuated. Things could have gone differently. What if there was an intruder? 

Do you know if your loved one’s residence has an emergency plan?


Other Important Steps

  • Be sure the evacuation plan takes special needs into consideration. For example, if a walker or wheelchair is used, how will accommodations be made?
  • Provide copies of the person’s medical history, medications, physician information and family contacts to people other than a partner/spouse.
  • Prepare an emergency kit (see below for suggestions).
  • If oxygen is used, be sure there is easy access to portable tanks.
  • Enroll in MedicAlert® ® + Alzheimer’s Association Safe Return®, a 24-hour nationwide emergency response service for people with dementia and their caregivers.

Dealing with Agitation in Loved Ones with Dementia

Be prepared for the person with dementia to experience some anxiety or confusion during an emergency. Below are some tips that may help prevent agitation.

  • Find outlets for anxious energy. Take a walk together or engage in simple tasks.
  • Redirect the person’s attention if he or she becomes upset.
  • Move to a safer or quieter place, if possible. Limit stimulation.
  • Make sure to take medications as scheduled.
  • Try to schedule regular meals and maintain the usual sleep schedule.
  • Avoid elaborate or detailed explanations. Provide information using concrete terms.
  • Follow brief explanations with reassurance.
  • Be prepared to provide additional assistance with all activities of daily living.
  • Pay attention to cues such as fidgeting and pacing, which may indicate that the person is overwhelmed.
  • Remind the person that he or she is in the right place

For more emergency and evacuation checklist Preparedness tips, read the full list from the alzheimer’s association.