Getting to live in the Florida sunshine means dealing with the reality of hurricane season. When my mother spent her final months at an in-patient hospice facility, I promised I would ride out the storms with her for as long as I was allowed.
Year later, as Hurricane Irma bore down on the state, my husband, daughter and I headed south on an empty interstate as vehicles sat in traffic jams for days to evacuate north and away from the storm. We felt it necessary to be with his parents, as my father-in-law — who had been battling pancreatic cancer — was nearing the end of his life. If the storm had been a direct hit, we would at least have been there to help my mother-in-law care for him under catastrophic circumstances. Wild horses couldn't pull me away from the people I love, and I believe many caregivers feel the same way.
Here are some general considerations for caregivers of today and caregivers of the future when planning for, or responding to, a time of crisis.
Create a disaster plan
No matter where you live, have a disaster plan ready for your care partner. It may be tailored to specific seasons, as winter plans could differ dramatically from summer plans.
Your plan should include a written list of your care partner's current needs, routines and impairments. It should include all identifying information (date of birth, Social Security number and a current photo) as well as allergies, medications and diagnoses. Prepare a biography of your loved one that will better inform their providers of their personality, interests and background. This is especially important for medical conditions where a care partner may rely on a caregiver to be their “voice."