The Alzheimer’s Foundation of America helpline is ready to answer the call in the aftermath of severe storms.
To support family caregivers in the Southeast and Mid-Atlantic areas of the U.S. who are caring for a person with a dementia during the remnants of Hurricane Ida, the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America national toll-free helpline is ready to answer calls for assistance, seven days a week, via phone (866-232-8484); text message (646-586-5283); and online by visiting www.alzfdn.org and clicking on the blue and white chat icon on the lower right-hand corner of the page.
The AFA helpline’s licensed social workers are specially trained in dementia care. They are available to address such questions as:
• How can I keep my loved one calm and feel safe?
• What steps can I take to deal with the additional stress and anxiety?
• Are there ways to handle the disruptions to my loved one’s daily routine?
• What steps can I take to reduce the likelihood that my loved one wanders from home, particularly at night?
• What can I do to help prevent or reduce agitation?
AFA provides the following tips for these challenging times:
• Stay calm. Pay attention to cues that your loved one may be overwhelmed, scared or upset.
• Do what you can to reassure. Gentle touch, such as holding hands or putting your hands on their shoulders, can be helpful.
• Keep your loved one occupied with an activity they enjoy. Try to maintain normal routines and schedules as much as possible.
• Have small, familiar items handy that bring comfort and reduce stress, such as family photos, books or an iPad/iPod/portable music player with favorite songs.
If your loved one expresses concern about fallen trees or power lines, it’s okay to tell them something reassuring such as, “Oh, the trees are being pruned and cut back so they can grow even higher.” Then transition to an enjoyable topic or activity.
Stay tuned for information from emergency management officials. Continue to monitor local TV and radio stations for information and cooperate with public safety officials. However, minimize the exposure of this information to your loved one.
Have the emergency contact numbers for local police department, fire department and utility providers readily accessible.
Be aware of hazards, including potential structural damage to your home as well as electrical or gas leaks. Carefully check your home’s walls, floors, doors, windows, and staircases for damage. If you see structural damage, like cracks in the foundation or missing support beams, you may need to relocate to another safe location. If you smell gas or see a broken line, contact your utility company immediately.
If your loved one receives home care or is living in a care setting, inquire with the provider about the backup or contingency plans. If you don’t live near your loved one, see if a neighbor can check in. Inform them of emergency contacts and where important medical information can be found, such as their insurance card.
AFA’s helpline can be reached at 866-232-8484 or via text message (646-586-5283) or webchat at alzfdn.org.
Information submitted by the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America.