First Aid Kit with supplies and Disaster Preparation Checklist sitting on a table

Your life as a caregiver for a loved one with dementia is a busy one. You likely have a lot on your plate. The topic of emergency preparedness for caregivers is probably not top of mind. It’s not something that we think of doing but when or if the time comes, you will be grateful that you planned ahead.

are you prepared for an emergency?

Do you know where all of your loved one’s important documents are located? Do you know where all of YOUR important documents are?

If you had to get out of your house in a matter of moments, not knowing if you would be able to return or if your home would even be there when you return, would you be able to grab everything you need?

Would you even know what all to take with you?

This post is the 4th in my series of the 19 most important things you should do after your loved one has received a dementia diagnosis. This 4th suggestion is to know where the important documents are located so that you can grab it on the fly. I’ll go into more detail on that below. Links to the other 3 are below –

If you’d like to know what the other 15 suggestions are, you can sign up for the list in the box below.

national preparedness month

September is National Preparedness Month, which makes it an excellent time to discuss the topic of emergency preparedness. This “month” is a reminder for all citizens to make and have in place survival preparations in the event something happens.

8 Caregiver Tips for Disaster Preparation - Emergency Preparedness for Caregivers

natural disasters could happen near you

As I sit here composing this blog post, Colorado has had several wildfires in the past couple weeks with homeowners being told to evacuate.

Recently, residents of California were under mandatory evacuation orders and were told to leave their homes immediately. One woman was quoted in the newspaper saying, “I kept looking at things and kept thinking I should grab this or that, but I just told myself I needed to leave. I didn’t bring any official documents and I didn’t bring my house deed or car title. No passport.”

Some people along the coast of Louisiana don’t have a home to go back to because the winds of Hurricane Laura destroyed it. How many of them left without any personal items?

As these are common occurrences in parts of the country, the residents of Colorado, California, and Louisiana are most likely to be prepared for a disaster.

But what about you and your loved one? As a caregiver, are you prepared for a potential disaster?

Would you be able to quickly get your hands on important documents like your social security card, your loved one’s Medicare card, your birth certificate, your passport, and other documents like that?

Read on to see how you can get yourself and your loved one prepared.

what you can do to be prepared for disasters

  1. Last month, in this post here, I wrote about setting up a notebook that contains personal documents regarding your loved one (or yourself). Creating this notebook is a good place to start. You can put your documents into a 3-ring binder or a file folder. Or even a small box.

  2. Wherever you live, know what risks could occur in your area.

  3. Then develop a plan with your family. Establish meeting places, both inside and outside the house. Make sure everyone has updated contact numbers.

  4. Next, you want to designate a person or a couple of people to be a point of contact. These can be family members, relatives or friends that live in different places.

  5. Gather emergency supplies including enough water and non-perishable food to last 3 days. Include a first-aid kit, flashlights and extra batteries. Remember your loved one’s supply of medication and any other necessary medical supplies. For a more detailed list, see the resources below this post.

  6. Then you will want to pack a go bag – some kind of a durable backpack or rolling duffel bag.

  7. Designate a place where that notebook of important documents will be located and make sure everyone knows where it is.

  8. After that, decide on a location for the go bag. If you don’t keep the documents with the go bag, then make sure the 2 locations are known to everyone.

percentage of people prepared for an emergency

According to a FEMA release from April 2015, only 39% of those surveyed developed an emergency plan and discussed it with their household. That’s not very many. I confess I didn’t have one when I was a caregiver for my mom. I did, however, have her important documents gathered in a notebook.

Most of us, I suppose, have the attitude that “it won’t happen to me.” But it can and it does!

So, what’s stopping you? Be disaster prepared.