Vote Now
Home | News | Events | Press | Contact  

About UseNewsletterMessage BoardsAction CenterAdvocateWalk to End Alzheimer’sShopDonate

Find your chapter:

search by state

In My Community

Weekly e-news

We will not share your information.

Disasters & Alzheimer's Disease
Text Size controlsNormal font sizeMedium font sizeLarge font size

Disasters & Alzheimer's Disease

 

In disaster situations, people with dementia:
  • are prone to hide or wander
  • are easily agitated
  • may forget directions
  • are especially sensitive to trauma
Response Techniques that may help reduce anxiety include:
  • Provide one-to-one instructions where to go and what to do
  • Use simple language
  • Do not leave the person alone, find someone who can stay with them to offer reassurance
  • Move the individual to a quiet place if possible
  • Use distraction to reduce anxiety or agitation
  • Be aware of the person's non-verbal communication. Pay attention to cues that the person may be overwhelmed (pacing, fidgeting)
  • Reassure the person by holding hands, or putting a hand on their shoulder
  • Find outlets for anxious energy, take a walk with the person or perform simple tasks (e.g. Folding laundry)
  • Redirect the person's attention if he or she becomes upset
  • Check that they have their medications
  • Try to make sure they are eating regular meals
  • Avoid elaborate or detailed explanations, provide information using concrete terms. Follow brief explanations with reassurance
  • Remind the person that he/she is in the right place

During an Episode of Agitation:

  • Approach the person from the front at eye level and use his/her name
  • Use calm, positive statements and patient, low-pitched voice
  • Respond to the emotions being expressed rather than content of the words. For example, say, "You're frightened and want to go home. It's ok. I'm right here with you."
  • Don't argue with their person or try to correct. Instead reaffirm his/her experience, reassure and try to divert attention. For example, "The noise in this shelter is frightening. Let's see if we can find a quieter spot. Let's look at your photo book together."

Disasters & Wandering

  • During a disaster situation, someone with dementia is confused and anxious, and the probability of wandering increases.
  • Prepare wandering before a natural disaster occurs by enrolling the individual in MedicAlert+SafeReturn, Comfort Zone or Project Lifesaver. For more information contact us at, 800.272.3900.
  • Because of the potential danger to the subject in a wandering incident, it is important to take action as soon as possible. Because of Silver Alert, first responders can begin searching for this individual immediately upon being reported.
  • Often times a person with dementia will, in their mind, return to an earlier time in their life. This can result in a confusing situation for all parties involved, particularly because the person truly believes they are right. Don't argue, but reassure the person and assist with getting them to a safe place and/or in contact with a loved one or caregiver. Since the person may not remember where they now live, returning them safely can be a challenge.  

 

Join or start a team today.

Find a Walk

Washington Alaska Texas Washington Oregon California Idaho Nevada Arizona Utah Montana Wyoming Colorado New Mexico Oklahoma Kansas Nebraska South Dakota North Dakota Minnesota Iowa Missouri Arkansas Louisiana Mississippi Illinois Wisconsin Michigan Indiana Kentucky Tennessee Alabama Florida Georgia South Carolina North Carolina Virginia West Virginia Ohio Maine Pennsylvania New York Vermont New Hampshire Massachusetts Rhode Island Connecticut New Jersey onClick= Delaware Maryland Hawaii Vermont New Hampshire Massachusetts Rhode Island Connecticut New Jersey Delaware Maryland Washington D.C.
Alzheimer's Association

Our vision is a world without Alzheimer's
Formed in 1980, the Alzheimer's Association is the world's leading voluntary health organization in Alzheimer's care, support and research.