Caregiver Preparation Is Key to Patient Care During a Catastrophe

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by Ray Burow |

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At the time of this writing, all eyes are on the Eastern Seaboard of the United States in anticipation of Hurricane Dorian.

The state of Florida, all boarded up and awash with storm warnings and watches, braces for Dorian’s arrival as it continues to lash devastating wind and rain on Grand Bahama Island. The islanders have now endured the storm for over 24 hours.

Weathering a storm and Alzheimer’s disease

Imagine caring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s disease while also weathering such a storm. It is nearly unthinkable, but you know that it happens. Familial caregivers at home and workers in care facilities are faced with keeping patients safe while also meeting their physical needs.

Storms are acts of God that keep caregivers on their toes. Vigilance is the word of the day, and in a catastrophe, letting one’s guard down could result in loss of life. At the very least, it will impact how easily you and your loved one or patient make it through the storm intact. Many of us will never have to brave a Category 5 hurricane, but situations like this drive home the importance of preparedness.

Prepare for the unforeseen before it rears its ugly head

Preparation is key to survival, not only in a catastrophe, but also in the day-to-day challenges of caregiving.

Employing the following tips will help ensure your loved one’s safety and make things easier for you as a caregiver when life becomes frenzied:

  • Keep a bag packed at all times. In fact, pack two: one for short jaunts and a second with essentials for mobile caregiving. Pack several changes of clothes and don’t forget intimate items. Include paper underwear if your loved one wears them. Medications are necessary, of course. Pack all of them and include the written prescriptions, pharmacy information, and all doctors’ names and contact information. Don’t forget spare eyeglasses.
  • Tuck away smaller but equally important items in a resealable, waterproof, zip-lock bag. Include items that your loved one will need in the case of an unexpected trip to the hospital.
  • Make copies of your loved one’s list of medications and Social Security and insurance cards before placing the originals in a resealable bag. Keep copies in a safe place at home, and tape the list to the inside of a medicine cabinet for quick reference.

Concentrate on what you can control

There’s little that caregivers can control about Alzheimer’s disease. Throw in a deadly storm, and the challenge becomes even more enormous. Preparing for the worst and praying for the best is all we can do.


Since the first writing of this column, Hurricane Dorian has ravaged the Bahamas, with seven fatalities reported. Florida was left virtually unscathed, while points northward anticipate the storm’s passing.

It’s unclear how caregivers fared in light of Hurricane Dorian, but it is certain that preparation is an asset in every situation.

If you’re interested in learning about relief efforts or where to donate, Samaritan’s Purse International Relief is an option.


Note: Alzheimer’s News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Alzheimer’s News Today or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to Alzheimer’s Disease.


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