Planning for a Natural Disaster When Your Loved One Has Alzheimer’s | Avalon Memory Care

Planning for a Natural Disaster When Your Loved One Has Alzheimer’s

Natural disasters, such as tornadoes, hurricanes, heat waves, fires and blizzards can be scary, but they can seem even scarier to someone with Alzheimer’s. It’s very important to have a disaster preparedness plan for these kinds of emergencies so that your loved one feels secure, and if your loved one is in a memory care community, then you need to know the specific facility’s plan. 

Disaster Preparedness Plan

If your loved one is in memory care, then knowing their disaster plan is a must. Contact the community to find out who coordinates disaster evacuations, and make sure they have copies of the patient’s medical history and any medications they might need, should something happen. If the Alzheimer’s resident has other special devices such as a walker, wheelchair, or an oxygen tank, then make sure the person in charge knows that. Also, find out where your loved one will be moved should a disaster occur, and how the community would communicate with you and others in your family.

If your loved one is not at a memory care community, then you will be in charge of their evacuation plan. Know that during a natural disaster your loved one might have an increased risk for wandering or becoming agitated. If you are evacuating to a specific location, then make sure that people around you know about their diagnosis so they can better assist you. Also, do whatever you can to stay together. This will help make sure your loved one won’t get lost and become even more confused. Most importantly- stay calm. If you are calm, it will help your loved one remain calm, too.

Emergency Supplies Your Loved One Might Need

This extensive list includes most everything you might need for a natural disaster situation where a person with Alzheimer’s is involved. Make sure you have all of these items if you are in charge of your loved one. If they are already a resident in a memory care community, then make sure they have access to the specific documents and any extra things you believe your loved one might need.

  • Water
  • Non-perishable foods
  • Medications
  • First aid kit
  • Essential toiletries
  • Sunscreen, bug spray, and hat if waiting outside for an extended time
  • Towels and blankets
  • Toilet paper and tissue
  • Flashlights (extra batteries)
  • Cell phone charger
  • Extra clothing and shoes
  • Medical equipment like a walker, oxygen tank, hearing aids, eyeglasses, or wheelchair
  • Incontinence products
  • Important keys to home or their residence suite
  • Beloved or valuable jewelry they wear each day or keep close
  • Extra cash and coins
  • Medical documents
  • Legal documents
  • Extra identification items (ID bracelet)
  • Insurance and social security cards
  • Recent photo of your loved one in case they get lost
  • Comfort item for your loved one- favorite book, picture, etc.
  • Contact info for physicians and you

For Power Outages 

The power can sometimes be out for days. Think about what you’ll need now to properly care for yourself and your loved one: 

  • Do this now: Contact your electric company and communicate your need for an alternate power source for life-saving equipment.
  • Stockpile flameless faux candles, flashlights, and solar lights
  • Battery-powered personal fans
  • Extra blankets

For Hurricanes 

Texas is no stranger to severe storms. Keep these items ready in case of extreme flooding and evacuation:

  • Life jackets
  • Raincoat
  • Umbrella
  • Confirm this now: Pre-determined location to travel to for higher ground
  • Waterproof bag for documents, medications, and phone

For Tornadoes

Tornadoes are very scary and can disturb someone with dementia even more than the average person. Think of what your loved one will need in the event you must go to your sheltering place.

  • Pre-determined location with a safe room or basement
  • Bike helmets to protect head
  • Water and non-perishable foods stored in basement for easy access
  • Can opener
  • Noise-cancelling headphones for your loved one’s comfort
  • Weather radio

For Fires

A home fire is devastating. Think of what to do now in the event a tragedy like this occurs:

  • Keep a fire extinguisher in the kitchen and educate yourself on how to use it.
  • Practice fire drills with your loved one.
  • Emphasize that getting out safely is the number one priority. Leave belongings behind.
  • Maintain smoke and carbon monoxide alarms. Better yet, hire a security system to professionally install and monitor them.
  • If you have a working security keypad, teach your loved one to push the fire emergency button.
  • If you live with your loved one, have the energy company turn off power to dangerous appliances like ovens and stoves.

For Blizzard and Ice Storms 

Even if your heat stays on, it might struggle to keep up with the cold. Take measures now to have everything you need in the event of frigid temps:

  • Warm clothing, thick socks, and heavy winter coats
  • Extra undergarments
  • Mittens, gloves, scarves, hats, and earmuffs
  • A stockpile of body warmers
  • Snuggly blankets

For Roadside Emergencies

Engine problems or a flat tire can be extra precarious with a passenger with dementia. Keep your vehicle maintained and add a few extra precautions to your list:

  • Number to your preferred roadside service, like AAA
  • Emergency light for your car like this one or this one
  • Charged cell phone

For Any Emergency

Think of ways you can locate your loved one if you get separated or if they feel scared. Some ideas:

  • Whistle they can wear around their neck (yours, too)
  • Bright colored or matching shirts for each of you
  • Bracelet that lights up or makes sounds
  • Light-up body gear like this
  • Handheld noisemaker your loved one can use to quickly get your attention
  • Wearable medical alert system
  • ID necklace
  • Blanket to snuggle with
  • Pet food and supplies for your pets and loved one’s pets

Start to prepare now with a go-bag filled with the necessary items. If keeping up with paperwork is difficult, keep a file on your phone that includes prescriptions, passwords, your loved one’s recent photo, insurance and ID cards, doctor info, and other important numbers you can access immediately.

You can also keep vital numbers under “Favorites” in your phone. Here are some to include:

  • The memory care residence
  • Doctors and therapists
  • Police non-emergency line
  • Pharmacy
  • Pet sitter
  • Health insurance company
  • Medicare
  • Hospital


At Avalon Memory Care, nothing is more important to us than the safety, health, and quality of life of our residents. To learn more about Avalon Memory Care or schedule a visit call (972) 713-1383 or (888) 522-1918. Avalon Memory Care offers all-inclusive pricing and month to month contracts.

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