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Disaster Preparedness for Seniors

Disasters like fires, floods, earthquakes, and other natural phenomena may be rare, but failing to prepare for them can be disastrous for both your safety and the condition of your home and belongings. These risks can be even greater for seniors, with serious injuries and death becoming more likely during disasters.

In this article, we’ll provide some tips to help you or your senior family members be better prepared for potential disasters.

Have a plan in place

If a disaster occurs, you should already know what you are going to do and where you should go. It can be difficult to make rational decisions in an emergency, so having a plan in place will eliminate this need. It helps to coordinate this with a neighbor or family member so that you can check on each other to make sure no one is injured.

Pack an emergency kit

When a disaster occurs, you may need to either stay in your home until the danger passes or evacuate your home. Either way, you need to make sure that you have everything you need to survive in an emergency, such as any medications you need, first aid kit, and emergency food and fresh water. Pack an emergency bag like this that you can grab if you need to evacuate, and consider keeping a stock of non-perishable food and fresh water in the house in case you have to stay inside for a few days.

Reinforce your home

Even small home improvements can help to prepare your home to be more resilient in the event of a disaster. Different types of disasters will require different preparations, of course, but some measures are good sense all around. If you live in an area where a certain kind of disaster is common, it’s also a good idea to take additional measures against this. Aging.com has advice for specific types of disasters.

Emergency contacts

You should have a list of local emergency contacts, either saved in your phone or another device, or written down as a list stuck to the fridge or kept in a safe place. As well as the local authorities and specific disaster helplines, this should include the numbers of friends or family members who can help you during a disaster. You may need a place to stay or shelter and, if you don’t drive or have your own car, you should be able to call someone for emergency transport in this situation.

In our independent and assisted living community, we make sure that the proper precautions and plans are in place in case of a disaster. If you need any support caring for a senior loved one, then contact Bermuda Village to find out how we can support or advise you.

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Explaining an Alzheimer’s Diagnosis to Your Children

Receiving an Alzheimer’s diagnosis for yourself or a loved one is always going to be difficult. But if the person receiving the diagnosis has young children or grandchildren, then explaining the situation to them and preparing them for what’s to come is an additional challenge to face.

If you’re in this situation, then read on for some tips on how to handle it.

When to tell children

It’s obviously at your own discretion when to tell your children that their parent or grandparent is sick. But preparing them early and being honest and open with them can help make things easier. Of course, if your child is only an infant, then you may decide to wait until they are a little older when they can better understand what you are telling them.

In the early stages of Alzheimer’s, the condition and its symptoms may not be very noticeable. During this time, it may be easy to hide the condition without telling the children, waiting until it is more necessary to explain any changes in behavior and personality. Alternatively, telling your children while the symptoms aren’t apparent can help to prepare them so that they aren’t as shocked or upset when those symptoms do arise.

How to help them understand and cope

Alzheimer’s is a complex neurological condition that can vary greatly from one patient to the next. This makes it difficult to fully understand, especially for kids and teenagers. The important thing is to be honest with them while tailoring your explanation depending on their age and what they are likely to understand.

It’s important to let them know what kind of behaviors to expect from their loved one to prepare them. A sudden change in personality or an increase in irritability can be upsetting and even frightening, so you should help them to understand that these behaviors are only a result of the illness.

You should encourage children to ask any questions they may have and to answer these questions as best as you can while still remaining comforting. Being open and honest with them will help them feel more at ease and that they can trust you if they want to talk about it.

Encourage them to express their feelings about the situation. Some parents feel like they should hide their grief in order to avoid upsetting their child. However, being open about your own feelings can help to show your child that it’s normal to feel this way and they should feel comfortable expressing their feelings.

If you need any support with approaching an Alzheimer’s diagnosis or caring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s or dementia, then contact Bermuda Village for personal care assistance around Winston Salem, Bermuda Run, Clemmons, and Lewisville. The Alzheimer’s Association website has useful resources for kids and teens to help them understand and cope with Alzheimer’s in the family.