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ALZHEIMER’S ASSOCIATION URGES CAREGIVERS TO MAKE DISASTER PLANS

The Alzheimer’s South Carolina Chapter is encouraging ALL family caregivers to make disaster preparedness plans in light of the newest predictions for Hurricane Matthew.

The Alzheimer’s Association is providing free resources on their website to help caregivers make a plan in advance of evacuations and potential landfall of this hurricane.

“Emergency evacuation is tremendously stressful for all involved, but those with Alzheimer’s or related dementia may not understand the gravity of the situation,” said Cindy Alewine, President/CEO of Alzheimer’s Association South Carolina Chapter.  “It’s vitally important for caregivers to have a plan and to know where to get support when a loved one exhibits fearfulness, agitation or changes in behavior. The Alzheimer’s Association is available 24/7 at 800-272-3900.”

Recommendations for caregivers include:

•        Be sure the evacuation plan considers special needs, such as walker/wheelchair. Learn about evacuation for those with functional needs at scemd.org.

•        Pack important paperwork, such as medical records, DNRs, and legal & financial documents.

•        Provide copies of the person’s medical history, medications, physician information and family contacts to people other than a partner/spouse.

•        Prepare an emergency kit.
  Include at least a week’s supply of medications, extra batteries for devices such as hearing aids, an extra pair of glasses, or even a familiar item (such as a blanket) to bring a calming element to an unfamiliar environment.

•        If oxygen is used, be sure there is easy access to portable tanks.

•        Enroll in MedicAlert® + Alzheimer’s Association Safe Return®, a 24-hour nationwide emergency response service for people with dementia. Sixty percent of those with Alzheimer’s or other dementia will wander, which is especially dangerous under these circumstances.

More than 84,000 South Carolina residents are facing Alzheimer’s and over 300,000 caregivers are providing over 340 million hours of unpaid care each year. Caregiving can be an extremely stressful experience, especially when unexpected events arise or when schedules are disrupted.

Alzheimer’s disease is a growing epidemic and the nation’s sixth-leading cause of death.  As baby boomers age, the number of individuals living with Alzheimer’s disease will rapidly escalate, increasing well beyond today’s more than 5 million Americans to as many as 16 million by 2050.

For more emergency preparedness information for caregivers and available resources, visit alz.org/sc or call the toll-free Alzheimer’s Association 24/7 Helpline at 1-800-272-3900.

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