Living with dementia

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How to prepare for a disaster

Advance preparations

  • If the person with dementia lives in a residential facility, find out about its disaster and evacuation plans. Ask if you will be responsible for evacuating her.
  • Whether you live with the person with dementia, or you are a long-distance caregiver, make sure evacuation plans include his specific needs. Check your local Alzheimer Society and other organizations that provide services to elderly people, to see if help is available.
  • Prepare an emergency kit (see below for suggestions).
  • MedicAlert® Safely Home® is a 24-hour nationwide emergency response service for people with dementia who wander or who have a medical emergency. Call toll-free at 1-855-581-3794.

Emergency kit

Consider preparing an emergency kit. Keep it in a watertight container and store it in an easily accessible location. Your emergency kit might include:

  • Easy on/off clothes (a few sets)
  • Supplies of medication (or minimally, a list of medications with dosages)
  • Velcro shoes/sneakers
  • An extra pair of glasses
  • Incontinence products
  • Extra identification items for the person, such as an ID bracelet and clothing tags
  • Copies of legal documents, such as a power of attorney
  • Copies of medical documents that indicate the individual’s condition and current medications
  • Copies of insurance and social insurance cards
  • Waterproof bags to hold medications and documents
  • Physician’s name, address and phone numbers (including cell phone)
  • Recent picture of the person with dementia
  • Hand lotion or other items to promote comfort<
  • Bottled water
  • Favourite items or foods; liquid meals
  • Pillow, toy or doll to hold for comfort
  • Phone numbers for Alzheimer Society, and MedicAlert®Safely Home®

If you know a pending disaster is about to occur:

  • Get yourself and the person with dementia to a safe place.
  • If the need to evacuate is likely, do not delay. Try to leave as early as possible to minimize long delays in heavy traffic.
  • Alert others (family, friends, medical personnel) that you are changing locations, and give them your contact information. Contact them regularly as you move.
  • Be sure there are people other than the primary caregiver who have copies of the person’s medical history, medications, physician information and family contacts.
  • Purchase extra medications.
  • If your family member uses oxygen, be sure to obtain portable tanks.

Get more information on disaster preparedness from Public Safety Canada.


Last Updated: 08/12/13
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