Senior Care in Galion OH
Being a family caregiver for an elderly adult who has communication issues can be challenging. This is especially true when it comes to preparing for events when communication and quick action are essential, such as during an emergency or disaster situation. September is National Preparedness Month. This is the ideal opportunity for you to put plans into place that ensure that your loved one can handle an emergency or disaster situation in the best way even as they are dealing with communication problems.
Communication issues are particularly difficult during an emergency or disaster situation because your loved one may not be able to get the type of care and assistance that they need without special accommodations. They may not be able to effectively tell emergency responders if they are injured or need something specific, or be able to get in touch with you during the emergency to let you know that they are alright, or to make plans to reunite with you. By making sure that your parent’s communication difficulty is part of their emergency preparedness plans you can help to reduce the stress of this issue, and make sure that your loved one gets through the situation in the best way possible.
Use these tips to help develop effective emergency preparedness for a senior who has difficulty communicating:
- Keep equipment records. If your parent uses assistive devices that help them with their communication disability, keep thorough records of them. This includes the specific item, the brand, the model number, and the serial number. This can help your parent to find replacements for these devices if they have to evacuate without their equipment, or to file an insurance claim if their items are destroyed or damaged in the disaster.
- Create communication plans. Work with your parent to come up with plans for how your parent will communicate with you or other members of their care team should they be alone when the disaster occurs. This can include making sure that they have a list of contact information for you, family members, friends, care providers, and anyone else who may be able to help them, as well as forms of communication that they are able to use, such as text messaging or email through a mobile device.
- Use alternative forms of communication. Also make sure that your parent is prepared for the need to communicate with others outside of their care network. Consider making cards that they can use to express their needs or communicate with emergency responders, members of the relief organization, or even other people in an emergency shelter. Write common phrases or words on unlined cards and laminate them to keep them protected from water and other damage. Also consider using pictograms, or images that are easily recognizable, to quickly and effectively communicate specific needs. A simple fork and spoon, for example, can help guide your parent to food, while a toilet or an image of the man or woman sign on the front of public restrooms can guide them to these facilities.