The hope is that you go through life without ever having to experience an emergency. Realistically, however, unforeseen circumstances pop up all the time. Though you may not be able to do much to avoid the issue, having a plan of action can make weathering the storm a lot easier. Unfortunately, most people fail to create a plan which is the biggest mistake you can make in the midst of a national pandemic.
Adults over the age of 60 are considered to be the most at-risk of contracting the coronavirus. They’re also the most at risk of getting sick or injured, the most-targeted crime victims, and the most vulnerable in the event of a natural disaster. Should something go wrong in the middle of a pandemic, seniors in poor health face an uphill battle with a lot of questions that need answering.
Seniors are the most isolated from their friends and family as they remain sheltered in place while some live in high-risk environments like nursing homes and senior living communities. It is for these reasons and more that an emergency preparedness plan needs to be developed. Continue reading for details on what your plan should include.
A Network of Support
Who can you call on when trouble arises? Creating a personal network of people to support you during the pandemic and beyond is ideal. This group can include your adult children, your extended family, friends, and even healthcare workers like your home health aide. It should be a group of people that you can rely on to be there when you call. People that will check in on you regularly and spring into action if you need assistance.
Important Health Documents
If your support network is going to be able to assist you in an emergency, they need to have access to certain information. Make sure that you have your birth certificate, social security card, living will, and your health information card (detailing any medications, health conditions, and emergency instructions).
Medical Contact Information
There are some important numbers you want to keep visible for yourself and your support group. Trying to scrounge around and figure this out in the middle of an emergency only adds to your stress. Therefore, you should create a list of medical providers/services to contact in the event of an emergency. At the top of the list, make sure you have the number to your primary care physician, dentist, and any other medical professional you’re currently seeing.
You should also do some research to find out which hospitals and urgent care centers are available near you. If you were interested in going to Our Lady of Lourdes, for example, you’d want to find out what Lourdes ER wait times are, the hours of operation, and a contact number.
Plan of Action
You and your support group need to develop a plan of action in case of an emergency. You all need to be on the same page about what to do if you contract the coronavirus, fall and get injured, or develop some other medical problem. You should also have a plan for other emergencies like natural disasters.
Your plan of action needs to include several methods of contact (just in case phones aren’t operational), a chain of command, and a meeting place. You should also discuss what role each person has and share the location of the information you gathered from above. Make sure you’ve provided someone with the keys to your house and car so they can access your possessions if necessary.
During times where the risk to the health and safety of older adults (and the rest of the population) is at its highest, emergency preparedness needs to be a top priority. You never know what could happen when you least expect it. Be it sickness, injury, natural disaster, or otherwise, having a solid plan backed by a strong personal network will ensure that you remain safe and get the help you need more efficiently.
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