Assisted living facilities are designed to be a safe haven for the elderly, especially during unavoidable emergencies, such as earthquakes, snowstorms, tornadoes, flooding and wildfires. During the process of choosing a senior care facility, it is important to take a look at how prepared they are to handle such emergencies. They should have a plan in place so they can ensure the safety of the community, even when the unthinkable occurs. Here are some questions to ask when determining how well-prepared the facility is in handling emergency situations.
The staff should be able to tell you they have a solid emergency plan in place and a capable team to carry it out. You may want to ask who is in charge if an emergency situation occurs and ask specifics about who takes care of supplies, the facility and residents. You can also inquire about what types of disasters the facility may have endured before and how it was handled.
During an emergency, keeping a clear line of communication is important. In some instances, communication sources can be limited. Ask how the facility keeps communication open, how family members are informed of the situation and specifically where they can find updates. Some facilities post updates online through a specific website or send emails to family members of residents.
When there is a crisis or a weather event, there are usually many reports about it on TV. Sometimes the news channels can repeatedly display graphic images. This can be overwhelming for some senior adults. Ask the facility what they will offer the residents during an emergency event to help occupy them during this time.
During major weather events, many assisted living facilities have plans in place in case there is a need to evacuate. In some instances, arrangements are made with other facilities where residents can be safe during a storm and then return home once it has passed. It’s important to know what types of arrangements are planned for these situations and with whom they are made.
An assisted living community should have a way to maintain supplies during an emergency. They should have a plan for food and water and ways to keep them fresh. How will they handle residents who require medications? Ask if the facility has emergency generators in case electricity is affected, and what they would do if it were to stop working too. Do they have a way to replace these types of items quickly if needed?