Emergency Checklist for Seniors and Their Caregivers

How to be prepared for a crisis

emergency checklist for seniors

We hope we'll never need the information, but if there is an emergency with your elderly parent or relative, having this checklist readily available will make your life easier.

Health emergencies with our elders can often become complicated by the sheer number of medications, doctors, insurance coverage and degree of chronic or acute illness(es) involved. Below is a comprehensive list of information and documents to keep on hand, so you'll be prepared.

Senior Care Emergency Checklist

  • Doctors' names, their specialties and phone numbers.
  • List of all medications being taken and what the prescriptions are for (be sure to keep the information updated -- as the medications may change frequently).
  • Medical insurance and prescription plans and identification numbers.
  • Social security number -- many insurance companies won't talk to anyone without the patient's social security number.
  • Durable power of attorney -- a legal document that gives someone the authority to handle legal and financial issues if your parent or elderly relative becomes incapacitated.
  • Health care proxy -- a legal document that gives someone the authority to make medical decisions for your parent or elderly relative.
  • Specification???of your elderly parent's or relative's wishes about resuscitation orders. Do you know their wishes? Knowing this information before a crisis can be crucial to the way in which you handle the crisis.
  • Basic financial records -- a list of assets, account numbers, names and contact information for financial advisors or bank representative.
  • Names and addresses of people to notify in case of an emergency -- such as children, grandchildren, close friends and neighbors who might be able to help out.
  • Names and contact information for local clergy, if your parent or elderly relative has a preferred religious affiliation.

This information should be placed in the home in an easy-to-find location, such as near the phone in the kitchen, or in another commonly used area, as well as given to another family member or friend who agrees to keep a copy of the information for you.

Ronnie Friedland is an editor at Care.com. She has co-edited three books on parenting and interfaith family issues.
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Comments (12)
Photo of Kelli W.
Kelli W.
Great list! This keeps everyone 'in the know' and avoids possible confusion.

Thank you so much,
Kelli W.
Posted: January 10, 2014 at 1:37 AM
Photo of Doreen H.
Doreen H.
We have all this information in a manila folder by the door. We can just grab it and go in case of an emergency. All important numbers are written on the outside,very convenient and easy.
Posted: September 14, 2013 at 8:47 PM
Photo of Mary M.
Mary M.
I think this is a great idea, but 2 of your suggestions concern me. Placing the social security number & financial records next to the phone in the kitchen will give access to this PRIVATE information to anyone, (family, friends, paid caregivers, repairmen) who is left alone in the kitchen. Experience has taught me that not everyone is honest. Leaving this information available can facilitate both theft and identity theft. These items should be kept elsewhere.
Posted: March 12, 2013 at 3:50 PM
Photo of Arthur G.
Arthur G.
Thanks for this knowledge and current information, many clients are confused about certain rights and concerns, the HIPPA agreement protects within reason, the Client(s), Care Giver,Health-Care Provider etc. But, key persons plays a role in communicating with each other and staff related criteria when performing duties according to care plans. Often times, miss communications could be a problematic circumstance if not planned ahead for the inevitablity of life's daily issues.
Posted: October 23, 2012 at 1:39 PM
Photo of Constance W.
Constance W.
Thank you for the list. All information regarding clients needs is helpful for both the client and to help the caregiver to feel in command of the situation.
Posted: June 27, 2012 at 1:08 PM
Photo of Eneida L.
Eneida L.
Very informative and precise. Great tool for us as caregivers to have and share with family members of the elderly we'd be caring for. Thank you!
Posted: May 31, 2012 at 10:28 PM
Photo of Hearen C.
Hearen C.
very helpful detailed list, this information will be very handy.
Posted: May 30, 2012 at 3:11 PM
Shirley G.
Nice list to have posted so that the caregiver can read it.
Posted: March 18, 2012 at 10:51 PM
Photo of Lauren K.
Lauren K.
Helpful info!
Posted: January 24, 2012 at 10:43 PM
Photo of Carole B.
Carole B.
This is wonderful information for everyone to have , Caregiver and. Perspective Clientel as well.
Thank you for having this info. All households of Senior loved ones needs to have a file on hand
Listing all of this information in case of emergencies.

Thank you so much for this informative bulliten.
Carole B.
Posted: December 22, 2011 at 2:03 AM
Photo of Beverly S.
Beverly S.
Well that is a great list and I never consider a list of this kind before. I do appreciate the list and will used it in my portolio.'Again thank you.
Posted: October 10, 2011 at 5:26 PM
Photo of Jeanmarie B.
Jeanmarie B.
Thanks for this thorough list. I have seen lists in my time but this explains what each item importance is and gives you great ideas of who to ask for so you are prepared for the unexpected.
Posted: April 26, 2011 at 1:03 PM
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