Older adults should prepare for care
The extra stress and anxiety from a hurricane can create additional health problems for the elderly, especially those who need help from a caregiver.
By Times Staff
Published April 16, 2006
Elderly people are especially susceptible to the effects of extreme weather. Those who live alone or are without the support of family or friends must take special precautions.
People who are frail or disabled (either mentally or physically) may need special assistance from family members, friends or social service agencies. Older adults who are also caregivers may require assistance. Excessive stress and anxiety can contribute to illness, particularly for people with heart disease and other illnesses. If an older adult lives in a nursing home, assisted living facility or boarding home, the administrator should be contacted to learn about the disaster plan for that facility.
-- Tell your health agency where you will be during a hurricane. Ask them about their plans to provide care.
-- If you require respirators or other electric-dependent medical equipment, you should make prior medical arrangements with your physician. You should also register with your local power company.
-- If you require oxygen, check with your supplier about emergency plans.
-- If you evacuate, remember to take medications in their original containers, written instructions regarding your care and special equipment.
-- If you will need assistance in an evacuation or need to go to a special-needs shelter, register now with your county emergency management agency. (Find their numbers in the blue county pages in the front of your phone book.)
-- Special-needs shelters do not provide hands-on medical care, only medical monitoring. Bring a caregiver with you. A public shelter should be considered a last resort. You will be more comfortable at the home of a friend or relative.
-- If you require hospitalization, you must make prior arrangements through your physician. Hospitals are not shelters.
-- Shelters, whether special-needs or not, have no medications or drugs on hand. Bring what you need.
[Last modified April 13, 2006, 16:06:33]
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