Preparing for a Natural Disaster as a Caregiver

Preparing for a Natural Disaster as a Caregiver

The day-to-day challenges of being a caregiver are monumental as it is, but in the unfortunate event of a natural disaster they can be multiplied. For a caregiver, being prepared for a natural disaster like a tornado, earthquake or hurricane involves more than just canned food and bottled water – it requires an understanding of the emotional and behavioral needs of their loved one. Preparing for a Natural Disaster as a Caregiver

While nobody ever wants to be faced with a natural disaster, the following tips are an important resource to what to do should the unexpected happen.

Decrease Anxiety:  Limit their exposure to the news, as constant updates can increase anxiety (even if the news update is not relevant to their current situation).
Plan Familiar Activities:  Participate in activities that your loved one is accustomed to, like walking, playing games or listening to music.
Physical reassurance:  A hug or holding one’s hand goes a long way in providing support to someone who is frightened and having difficulty in understanding what is happening.
Communicate Plainly:  Use simple communication. If there is difficulty in understanding, restate in simpler terms. Do not give complex commands and avoid giving too many choices.
Keep to Smaller Groups:  Individuals living with dementia often do better among smaller groups of people
Redirection:  Change the subject when possible. As an example, if they say “I want to go home,” say, “We have to stay here a little longer. In the meanwhile, let’s go for a walk and see if we can get something to eat.”
Keep Up Routines:  Try to maintain daily routines (mealtimes, bathing time, activities) wherever you can.
Show Patience:  Try to be as patient and calm as possible. People living with dementia respond to non-verbal cues.
Reduce Exposure:  Crowds, noisy conversations, strange or different surroundings and changes in routine and sleep patterns can all provoke behaviors. Try to reduce exposure to where you can.
Inform First Responders:  In the event of an evacuation, inform people as appropriate around you that the person has a memory impairment.
Be Observant for Unmet Needs:  Pay attention to other potential causes of behaviors, like hunger, thirst, pain or needing to use the bathroom.
Be Flexible:  Be ready to improvise in familiar situations.

Preparing for a Natural Disaster as a Caregiver

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