Emergency Preparedness for Seniors - How To Make Sure You're Ready For Anything


Post by: Eastlands Estate, 18 Oct 2020

If you have aging parents – or an elderly parent who lives on their own - it’s natural to be worried about how they would cope in an emergency. Or if you’re a senior yourself, you may be concerned that you don’t have a comprehensive plan in place of what to do in the event of a medical emergency, flood, or fire.

It can be a significant source of anxiety for family members and the senior person concerned if a plan of action hasn’t been drawn up. In the case of an emergency, there’s often no time to scrabble in desk drawers looking for documents and contact numbers.

Knowing that all the important information is all in one place, in an easy to find location, is extremely comforting. But don’t forget to let children and/or caregivers know exactly where that location is! In this way, if something unexpected happens, people are prepared and can handle the situation much more calmly.

What To Do First
The best way to start – especially for those with aging parents – is to sit down with them and have an open, honest discussion. The “what if” questions aren’t always easy to ask, but they do need to be tackled:

What if Mum falls at home and can’t get to the phone to call for help?

What if Dad has a stroke and he’s unable to write or speak?

What if I’m home alone and there’s an electrical fire or the geyser bursts?

These and other questions are important to ask, and contingency plans need to be made.

One of the best things you can do – either as a senior yourself or as the child of aging parents – is to have a folder in which you place your Emergency Plan.

Start with basic information, such as name, address, date of birth, and any important medical information – allergies, current medication, medical aid details, doctor’s contact details, etc. If there have been any recent blood tests, scans, or other medical procedures, the details and results of these should be on hand too.

If you (or your aging parents) have a solicitor or nominated Power of Attorney, their names and contact details should also be in the folder.

Next should be a list of the names and numbers of immediate family members, trusted neighbours or friends, home maintenance suppliers (plumber, electrician, etc), and security company (if applicable).

There should also be details of any chronic medication schedules or regular doctor’s appointments.

In addition to the binder, everyone should have a good idea of what physical action to take in the case of medical or other emergencies.

The Benefits Of Community Living
If you live in a retirement community, you may well have panic buttons positioned strategically throughout your home. These are usually linked to the main security control room or reception. In the immediate seconds following an emergency, only having to do one thing – i.e. press the panic button – means summoning help is quick and easy.

You can also have panic buttons linked to a nearby family member’s phone, or your private security company’s control room. Some seniors find it comforting to wear their panic buttons on a cord around their neck, so it’s always within reach, even if they slip and fall outside.

One of the most comforting things about living on a mature lifestyle estate such as Eastlands is that help is never further than the push of a button away. You’re also surrounded by caring neighbours, who are always more than happy to check in on you to make sure you’re OK. With everyone keeping a caring eye on each other, everyone’s safety and security is well taken care of.

We tend to think of most emergencies as being medical, but if recent weather patterns are anything to go by – particularly on the Highveld – we are just as likely to have a flood emergency. In this case, having an evacuation plan in place is vital.

Always make sure you know where your house keys are so you can get out of the house quickly. Leaving a set with a trusted friend, and another with a family member if they live close by, is an excellent idea.

Make sure you have a “grab bag” handy, with a few days’ supply of your essential medication, as well as copies of your passports and ID books. If you need any other supplies, such as adult diapers, make sure these are also kept in the bag.

It can be a little daunting thinking about everything you need to do in case of an emergency, but being prepared takes a lot of the stress out of the situation.

If you’d like to arrange a tour of Eastlands Mature Lifestyle Estate to see for yourself how well prepared we are for all kinds of emergencies, please contact us (010 035 0451 / 084 418 2320) to make an appointment.

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