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Alzheimer’s Insights: After the storm

Scott Finley

Hurricane Laura is behind us now – but the memory will not soon be forgotten.

According to Governor Greg Abbott, Orange County “dodged a bullet” in the storm.  However, there is still plenty of hurricane inflicted damage to assess, clean up and repair.

Staying safe after the storm is just as important as preparing to encounter the storm.  See this story in the Orange Leader for a full rundown of post-storm safety tips.   https://www.orangeleader.com/2020/08/27/staying-safe-while-cleaning-up-after-the-storm/

With hurricane season now officially upon us, we need to be aware that people with Alzheimer’s or other dementia can unknowingly put themselves and others in dangerous situations.

Here are a few things to remember when disaster strikes and you are moving a person with dementia and trying to keep them calm in evacuation situations.

  • Avoid physical force or restraint.
  • Be creative rather than rely on reality.
  • Provide one-on-one instruction.
  • Provide step-by-step instructions using simple language.
  • Try to relocate the person to a quiet place.
  • Use distraction by giving the person a simple task.
  • Ensure the person is watched, at all times, to prevent wandering.

Hopefully there is a caregiver close by.  If not, use the TALK tactics:

  • Take it slow. Someone living with Alzheimer’s moves at their pace, not yours.
  • Ask simple questions.
  • Limit reality checks. Try not to argue; to someone living with Alzheimer’s, their perception is their reality.
  • Keep eye contact.

Remember, a person with dementia may be easily agitated or afraid. Gently tell him or her you are there to help.

You can ALWAYS call the Alzheimer’s Association 24/7 Helpline at 800.272.3900 for immediate instruction and help.

And just a reminder – you can always get the latest information about the Association’s COVID-19 emergency preparedness guidelines for Alzheimer’s and dementia caregivers in long-term or community-based care settings here:

https://alz.org/professionals/professional-providers/coronavirus-covid-19-tips-for-dementia-caregivers

 

The Alzheimer’s Association leads the way to end Alzheimer’s and all other dementia – by accelerating global research, driving risk reduction and early detection, and maximizing quality care and support. Our vision is a world without Alzheimer’s and all other dementia. Visit alz.org or call 800.272.3900.

Scott Finley is Media Relations Manager for the Alzheimer’s Association® in Texas.  He can be reached at scfinley@alz.org