From falls to fires, emergency situations can arise at any time in the home of a senior citizen. For seniors who live alone, emergency preparedness can be a major concern. It is important to help prepare your elderly loved one for urgent situations, in the event that one occurs. The proper emergency response plan can make a real difference in their health and safety.
Emergency Plans and Mobility
When creating emergency plans for your loved one, it is important to consider their mobility. If your loved one has mobility issues, they may not be able to safely use a fire escape or move quickly out of their home. However, in a dire situation, they may not have a choice. Be sure to keep pathways in the home clear of clutter or obstacles that may make evacuation more difficult in the event of an emergency.
In the event of an emergency, it is important for your family to be notified. Therefore, you should fill out an emergency contact card and instruct your loved one to keep it on their person. The American Red Cross offers a free, printable contact card online. Your loved one should keep it in their wallet, cardholder, or another easily accessible place where first responders might find it.
Additionally, the medication that your loved one takes can be important information in the event of a medical emergency. Write a list of any medicine your loved one is taking and what dosages. Leave the list in an easy-to-spot location, such as on the fridge. First responders can inform the hospital of what medications your loved one is taking. It is also important to keep any Advanced Directives handy along with the medication list for medical personnel. Overall, this can be a major asset for creating a care plan in the hospital in the event of an emergency. If you need to take your loved one to the hospital, bring them with you.
Communication in Emergency Situations
Communication is vital to the safety of your loved one. However, full communication is not always possible in emergency situations. Glasses and hearing aids can help your loved one better understand and communicate with medical staff. Be sure to note that on any emergency information cards or medication sheets for first responders. This will help emergency responders know that these should be taken along with your loved one.
If your loved one is better at communicating in a language other than English, write it on any emergency contact cards or medication lists. This can help first responders and hospital staff best serve your loved one.
Communicating With Neighbors
When your elderly loved one lives on their own, you may not always be around to help them in an emergency situation. Create a Support Network by talking with their neighbors and asking a trustworthy person to be a point of contact in case of an emergency. Having someone on their block or in their building that can assist them quickly can be important to ensure their safety.
Natural Disaster Preparedness
Natural disasters, such as hurricanes, blizzards, and more can be especially dangerous for seniors. Power outages, flooding, and other effects from natural disasters can create dangerous situations for your loved one. Be sure to leave flashlights in convenient locations in each room, so that your loved one can always find one in the event of an emergency. Work with your elderly loved one to come up with emergency response plans for the natural disasters that occur in your area that may cause evacuation. A lightweight “Go Bag” can be left by the door to grab on the way out. This can include a flashlight, bottled water, snacks, important documents in a waterproof bag, cash in small bills, a pad and pen, supplies for any pets, a cell phone charger, hand sanitizer, and masks.
In New York City, visit the Ready NY page to access emergency preparedness materials in addition to the booklet, Ready New York, My Emergency Plan, given to most seniors by the Department of the Aging, NYC Emergency Management, and the Mayor’s Office.
Personal Emergency Response Systems
An effective way of providing a loved one with an extra level of safety is a Personal Emergency Response System (PERS). PERS devices connect with your loved one’s telephone connection and provide a direct call to a response center in case of an emergency situation. Most PERS devices are worn around the neck or wrist. At the push of a button, your loved one can be connected to the response center with two-way communication. The response center can then contact the proper services, such as the fire department or EMS.
Choosing a PERS Service
When choosing to invest in a PERS system, there are a few factors to consider. Research your options, and see which one fits your loved one’s needs and budget. A critical factor in determining which service to choose is their average response time. You should also want a service that has a 24/7 call center.
Certain services offer more deluxe PERS models that may fit your loved one’s needs better. For example, some PERS devices have sensors that can detect falls, and immediately respond. Waterproof and water-resistant models can also be important for added security during bathtime. If your loved one has Alzheimer’s or Dementia, consider looking into companies that specifically cater to their needs.
Home Care Workers and Emergency Prevention
One of the easiest ways to keep your loved one safe in an emergency is to prevent them from occurring. Hiring a home health aide to care for your loved one could help limit the chances of safety hazards and emergency situations. A home health aide can assist with cooking, bathing, housekeeping, and more. These services can help reduce the risks of emergency situations
such as falls or fires in the home. Having someone in the home to assist your loved one can be critical to keeping them safe in the event of an emergency.
Safe Harbor Healthcare Services does not provide medical, healthcare, or financial advice via articles. This material has been prepared for informational purposes only. It is not intended to provide, and should not be relied on for medical advice.
Safe Harbor Healthcare Services has been providing excellent home care on Staten Island since 1967. Our services help the elderly and disabled live safely and independently; while giving their families the peace of mind they need. For more information contact us by clicking here, or call (718)-979-6900.