As I sit at my desk writing this, I’m listening to the wind outside and waiting for a hurricane to arrive at my doorstep. Such events are no small concern, as I have myself, my husband, and 4 kids under 11 to keep safe. But even more, I have a list of clients, their families, and their caregivers to worry about as well.
Major weather events, such as hurricanes or snowstorms, are hard on everyone. But they are particularly difficult for vulnerable populations such as perennials and their caregivers.
For one thing, they are unpredictable. As much as we love our weather forecasters, it is not an exact science. Earlier this week we were preparing for a direct hit from a category 4 hurricane. Today, I’m getting a few light showers and a good breeze from a category 1 hurricane.
This makes a big difference.
If I’m looking at the direct hit, my family needs to decide do we stay or go? If we leave, where do we go? Can I survive multiple days in a small hotel room with my entire family, or will I lose my mind?
For those of you caring for perennials, the decisions are even more complex.
Will the caregivers you have hired be able to get to work? How do you respond if they cannot? What happens if the power goes out? How long can your perennial survive without it, especially if they have complex medical needs? Can you move them if you have to? How much will it cost to move them? What do you need to take when you travel?
So what do you do? You make plans, contingency plans, and then contingency plans for the contingency plans.
It is easy to say “It won’t happen” or “the weather forecasters are always wrong” but it is ultimately you and your loved one that will suffer when the storm comes. And although my community has dodged a bullet today, there are other communities that didn’t expect to get a direct hit from a hurricane…and yet they did.
Here are my tips to prepare for the storm:
- Prepare an emergency kit, specific to your loved one. In addition to all the usual stuff (water, food, flashlights, etc.), make sure you have all their medications and medical supplies for at least 7 days. I suggest putting your emergency kit in a bag with rollers, because you don’t know how far you may need to travel with it! Label all medical equipment with names and contact information.
- Make a plan. Include family members and caregivers in the planning process. Decide who will check on you and your loved one, and who you will call to let them know you need to move. Assess any special needs (e.g., oxygen tanks, wheelchairs) that must be considered when planning an exit strategy. Choose a meeting point outside of your neighborhood in case you are unable to return home.
- Stay informed. When someone mentioned to me earlier this week that we had a hurricane coming, my response was a blank stare. Don’t be me. Stay informed about what is happening in your community, so that you can stay ahead of potential emergency situations and avoid last-minute scrambling to prepare.
What are your tips for weathering the storm? Tell me in the comments below!