Emergency checklist for seniors and caregivers

Ronnie Friedland
Nov. 5, 2019

Hopefully you'll never need this information, but if there is an emergency with your elderly parent or relative, having the items in this checklist available can make a huge difference in your loved one's wellbeing.

No emergency situation is simple, but those with seniors can be even more complicated due to numerous medications, doctors, insurance coverage and the degree of chronic or acute illnesses 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, caregiver 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.

Tips and stories from parents and caregivers who’ve been there.

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