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Emergency Checklist for Seniors and Their Caregivers

Ronnie Friedland
March 26, 2018

How to be prepared for a crisis

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.

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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.

March 23, 2015

You have chosen a perfect checklist before hiring in emergency for seniors and their caregivers. This can be really useful for the people thanking to get a new member in their family as a caregiver and also to the caregivers seeking a nice family to get hired.

Jan. 10, 2014

Great list! This keeps everyone 'in the know' and avoids possible confusion. Thank you so much, Kelli W.

Sept. 14, 2013

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.

User in Birmingham, MI
March 12, 2013

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.

Oct. 23, 2012

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.

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