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Facing A Storm

By Jennifer Bradley, Staff Writer

(Page 2 of 4)  

The document should list the disaster procedures agreed upon, including evacuation and preparation tasks. As a guide to other team members, describe exactly what the loved one will be needing during this time, such as incontinence products, medications and clothes. This leaves no time lost by a rescuer guessing what items to ensure are readily available.

The University of Florida IFAS Extension Service provides some helpful hints for this document. One such tip is to list the person’s daily schedule. What does a typical 24-hour period look like? Many people with caregivers have schedules and are very set to them. If toileting, eating and taking medication occur at regular times every day, this helps a temporary caregiver keep the situation as calm and normal as possible.

Another great tip the Extension Service offers is for a caregiver to describe in detail how their loved one handles stress and traumatic experiences. Some ideas include:

  • Does talking or singing help? A particular book or song?

  • What “things” bring comfort? A blanket, pillow, animal? Where are they usually found?

  • Is there medication that may help calm a loved one?

  • Who is a loved one most comfortable with if the primary caregiver is unavailable? How can this person be reached?

Once the document is complete, a caregiver should place it in a prominent position of a loved one’s home so anyone can find it. Give copies to team members. Keep a note taped to the refrigerator listing the location of the binder so any public safety personnel can find it as well.

The Waiting Game

So, the storm is coming. The meteorologists have it all pinpointed on their fancy charts and graphs. That doesn’t mean a caregiver can sit by and wait helplessly. Now a caregiver should put the well-laid plan into action even during the pre-storm period.

A fire or tornado is not a time to sit and think about the plan; but during a hurricane or thunderstorm, keep the news on, whether by radio or TV, until the power fails. A caregiver should try to create a sense of normalcy until action is required. This minimizes stress to all involved.

As children, parents and teachers walked us through evacuation plans and safe areas for home and school. As adults, it is just as important to be prepared for such situations. As a caregiver, it is essential to show a loved one their options for a variety of disasters.  The disaster team should meet and discuss topics such as:

  • What is the location of the nearest emergency shelters?

  • What supplies must be taken with the loved one?

  • How many people are needed for assistance?

  • Who should be informed when evacuation has taken place? Loved ones? Local disaster officials?


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