Emergency Preparedness for the Elderly

Emergency Preparedness for the Elderly

Emergencies always happen when you least expect them. The recent chaos of Storm Isha knocking out power and downing trees across the country serves as a good reminder of the importance of being as prepared as possible for emergency situations, especially in the case of elderly individuals who may be living alone.

With this in mind, let’s take a look at some of the various methods by which you can protect yourself and your loved ones from unforeseen circumstances.

Emergency Lists

The first step in preparing for emergency situations is, of course, planning what to do ahead of time. Therefore, having things ready to go in your home can be lifesaving in a hectic situation.

Firstly, it is a good idea to have an emergency list – this list will include the contact information of family members who should be notified in an emergency situation, any medications, allergies or medical conditions pertaining to the elderly individuals living in the home, and any additional information that might be useful to paramedics or other emergency personnel. Print this list out and prominently display it in the home where it can be easily seen.

Secondly, a prepacked bag with emergency medical supplies, batteries for hearing aids, spare glasses, clothing, toothbrushes, and other necessities can be invaluable in the event that you need to leave the house quickly.

Personal Alarms

Many emergencies start off with relatively minor accidents in the home. A fall or injury while living at home alone can leave elderly people unable to call for help. In these circumstances, a personal alarm (usually worn around the neck as a pendant or as a wristband) can instantly summon assistance to the home even when family members are unavailable.

If a personal alarm isn’t suitable, alternative arrangements can be made. For example, did you know that a Google Nest or Alexa can be set up to be able to call emergency services through voice commands alone? As long as you can be heard, you can be helped!

And, of course, there is always the trusty mobile phone. It is also a good idea to add local emergency contacts (e.g. local Garda station, local doctor-on-call, etc.) to your phone to reduce emergency response times as much as possible; additionally, family contacts can be set as favourites or speed-dial contacts, allowing you to call who you need with a single tap.

Stay Connected

Keeping in touch with neighbours and elderly friends and relatives is a vital component in ensuring everyone is safe and happy while retaining their independence. Regular visits or phone calls to an elderly person’s home not only give them essential social interaction to bolster their mental wellbeing, they also serve as a way to make sure that the person is not in any distress or in danger from hazards in the home that they cannot deal with or may not have noticed (such as blocked chimney flues, black mould, electrical faults, etc.).

It may also be a good idea to leave a spare key or door code to the property with a trusted neighbour who can then gain immediate access to provide assistance in an emergency.

If you’re concerned about your loved ones being left alone at home, why not get in touch with our Care Team to find out how our Carers can help to give you greater peace of mind? You can contact the team at care@irishhomecare.ie or on 042 975 4751.

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