5 Tips for Helping People with Alzheimer’s During an Emergency

puzzledmind-1.jpgAs we head into spring weather here are some great tips for emergencies!  Thank you for visiting us at Advocare. We provide Aging Life CareTM to area residents throughout the South Florida area.

Even for those of us who don’t live in hurricane territory, the devastating effects of recent storm shoulds serve as a valuable reminder: disasters can pose a special set of challenges for caregivers. A clear action plan for helping people with Alzheimer’s can make disaster preparedness easier for both caregivers and their charges.

1. Plan Ahead

  • Write an emergency checklist and keep it in an easy-to-remember location.
  • If you know someone with Alzheimer’s is living alone, arrange for a family member or neighbor to assist them during a disaster. Familiarity is key—remember that it can be difficult and disorienting for someone with Alzheimer’s to cope with a stranger coming into their home.
  • Know where the gas and water valves are in their home, and how to turn them off.
  • Keep a list of prescription medications and know where they’re kept in the house.

2. Keep Calm

  • For best results in communicating with someone with Alzheimer’s during an emergency, stay calm and try not to appear frantic.
  • Don’t talk directly about the disaster. People with Alzheimer’s are likely to pick up on your distress without understanding the situation itself. In such cases, they may react by wanting to stay where they are, in a familiar environment, rather than going to a safer location.

3. Stay Positive

  • When it comes to staying calm and positive, be prepared to use every tool in your tool kit: help the person envision something that delights them, or encourage them to picture a favorite family member or activity. Then use that vision as an enticement to leave the house. For instance, if the senior has a grandchild, you could say, “We need to go see the grandbaby—let’s go.”
  • Another way to increase the responsiveness of someone with Alzheimer’s is to focus on how they can be of help to you, instead of the other way around.

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