Disaster planning is an important part of caregiving. When the unexpected occurs, like a flood or wildfire, minutes can be the difference between a safe evacuation and a more dangerous situation. Aging Life Care Managers can help families create and implement disaster plans. These professionals can assess a families’ situation, locate resources and support, and coordinate care plans so that older adults or others in need of services can age safely and with confidence.
Rebecca Montano, PhD, CRC, CMC, CCM, Advanced Aging Life Care Professional® and Chapter President for the Aging Life Care Association® Western Region, has seen many families need assistance in evacuating as California’s wildfires have grown more serious. She stresses that time is of the essence. “When a fire starts, move directly into your evacuation plan,” she says. “Evacuate your loved one along with fireboxes and pets immediately. Fires start in an instant, and there is no time to wait.”
Tips for Your Evacuation Plan:
- Prepare, prepare, prepare!
- Gather all important documents (e.g. Banking information, Trusts/wills, POAs, Deeds, Insurance Information-property and health, an emergency only credit card, and a small amount of petty cash). Place these items in a fireproof and/or carry-friendly box.
- Gather all medications (or pictures of labels), medication lists, family/friends contact info, and important health information. Place these items in a separate fireproof and/or carry-friendly box, if possible for ease in carrying. Place both boxes into a backpack in an easily accessible location, so you only have to carry one item.
- If there are pets, research animal boarding ahead of time and create a plan for boarding. Make sure all pets have vaccinations and papers required for boarding (place these documents in the medication information box along with your loved one’s information).
- Research temporary housing options–hotels, respite care in assisted living, family or friends, in nearby communities.
- Register for text fire alerts with the local authorities.
Depending on your loved one’s specific situation, an evacuation might be complicated, with many moving parts. To get assistance, find an Aging Life Care Professional in your area at aginglifecare.org.