This page will serve as a resource for all upcoming potential hurricane threats during the 2020 Hurricane Season.
Please be aware that our 24-hour Helpline is still available to assist you throughout the storm at 800.272.3900. If you are in need of medical assistance or have an emergency, please dial 911.
The best response to any major weather event or natural disaster is to plan ahead.
Do your best to keep calm. Individuals with Alzheimer’s disease take cues from their caregivers. If they feel you are panicked or anxious, they will sense that and feel unsafe. Scared feelings can cause agitation and challenging behaviors. Keep reassuring them that they are safe, and realize that they may not understand what is going on. Use private moments to process your own fears and emotions. You may also find it helpful to call the Alzheimer’s Association Helpline at 800.272.3900 to speak to a Care Consultant who can listen and provide support to you.
The preparation for a storm can often generate even more stress than we experience during the actual event. Gathering supplies at the beginning of hurricane season prevents you from having to manage the stress of last minute storm preparation.
Maintain a two week stock of any medical supplies you and those in your care use, including medications, incontinence products and diabetic supplies. Ask your doctors to prescribe any necessary medications, fill the prescriptions and store at least a two week supply for use in an emergency. Consider asking the person with Alzheimer’s doctor to prescribe medications to decrease anxiety and promote sleep if you are concerned the person may become agitated during the disaster.
Remaining at Home
If possible, have other family or friends come to your home so you have respite and help during the storm/disaster.
Have personal supplies on hand such as baby wipes (used for sponge bathing), anti-bacterial wipes, hand sanitizer, and mouthwash.
Although local, state and federal resources are coordinated to be available within 72 hours after a storm/disaster, it is important to have enough food and water for at least 72 hours, and, if possible, a two week supply for you, individuals in your care, and your pets.
Establish a safe room, an interior room with no windows. Bring needed supplies, including battery powered radio, medication, food and water, into the room. Try to keep the room well lit; shadows and darkness are frightening and confusing.
Consider the nutritional needs of the individual with Alzheimer’s and purchase non-perishable food items that do not require electricity to prepare such as:
Items to add when a storm is approaching
- Canned and jarred meats and fish, like tuna, salmon, and chicken
- Canned fruits (packed in juice, not in syrup)
- Canned vegetables
- Canned soups, stews and chili
- Powdered and/or evaporated milk
- Instant coffee, tea and cocoa
- Nuts/Dried Fruit
- Jelly and/or honey
- Peanut butter
- Powdered drink mixes (to make water more palatable)
- Fruit juices, vegetable juices, soft drinks
- Bouillon cubes/Ramen noodles
- Nonperishable pudding and gelatin
- Pet food
- Bottled Water (one gallon per day per person/pet for two weeks)
- Cheese spreads and cheese slices that don't need refrigeration
- Cookies, crackers or chips
- Small boxes of dry cereal
Items to avoid
- Fresh fruit (will keep several days at room temperature)
- Bread, muffins or bagels
- Summer sausage, pepperoni
- Ice (purchase ice or make in your own freezer and fill zip lock bags)
- Anything with a lot of salt since that increases thirst
Equipment to have on hand
- Manual can opener
- Weather radio
- Battery operated lanterns and flashlights
- Battery operated fans
- First aid kit
- Battery operated radio and/or TV
- Games, puzzles, photo albums, CDs, audio tapes
Listen to the weather radio. Knowing what is happening in your area is important before, during and after a storm or disaster. Listen to local authorities and follow their instructions.
Attempt to keep rooms well lit. Battery operated lanterns and flashlights minimize the confusion of dim lighting in a shuttered home.
You may be able to minimize storm noise, which can be frightening, with a battery operated radio or TV.
Battery operated fans can help to manage the loss of air conditioning.
Distract the person with Alzheimer’s with singing, reminiscing, activities and games.
If you live in an evacuation zone or feel you may want to evacuate during a storm, make a pre-arranged plan of where you will go. Shelters can be a challenging environment for individuals with Alzheimer’s disease due to the noise and crowded environment, so first consider whether any friends or family may be able to offer a safe shelter alternative.
If you require a shelter, Red Cross establishes shelters in areas that are under hurricane warnings. You can locate a shelter nearest you by calling the Florida Emergency Information Line at 800.342.3557 (only operates during emergencies) or by visiting FloridaDisaster.org
You may also call the Red Cross for shelter information:
Martin & Okeechobee Counties:
Miami-Dade & Monroe Counties:
St. Lucie County:
Or go to the website: RedCross.org/find-help/shelter
You must pre-register for a special needs shelter in your county. Dementia is not considered a special medical need in most areas, however, Palm Beach County does have a special needs shelter for individuals with Alzheimer’s disease. In addition, if you or the person with Alzheimer’s disease has a special medical need, such as oxygen, insulin or IV therapy, call ahead to get information and register. See special needs shelter registry phone numbers listed below.
Special needs registries in each county may also provide assistance for individuals who may need transportation assistance to evacuate. Call your special needs registry to determine if you or those in your care may be eligible for a special needs shelter and/or evacuation transportation assistance:
Special Needs Pre-Registration:
863.763.3212 (Health Dept.)
Palm Beach County:
If you do need to evacuate, tell family and friends where you, the individual with Alzheimer’s (and your pets) will be going to seek shelter. Remember to take your cell phone, if you have one.
When evacuating your home, help the person with Alzheimer’s manage the change in environment by bringing their pillow and a blanket that is familiar to them. Bring a few changes of clothing including socks and undergarments, and incontinence products, if needed.
Once you are at the shelter, try to stay away from exits, and choose a quiet corner, if possible. Be aware that strangers may interact with the person with Alzheimer’s and this can be anxiety provoking.
As a safety precaution, consider enrolling the individual living with Alzheimer’s disease in a wandering response service
. If the person living with Alzheimer’s becomes lost or separated during a storm, this service will help first responders locate and return the person home safely.
Be aware that being outside of the normal living environment or routine can be very frightening to someone with Alzheimer’s disease. Offer reassurance and plan on providing familiar activities. Consider making a list of activities you can do together, and that the person can do independently, to provide distraction and create a feeling of normalcy. Having puzzles, games, books, photo albums, and music with headphones can be helpful. You may call the Alzheimer’s Association 24/7 Helpline at 800.272.3900 for suggestions regarding activities during and after a storm.
Whether you decide to shelter at home or evacuate it is important to have a record of personal information for both yourself and those in your care. Keep a list of doctors, prescription medications, insurance policy information, bank information, and any documents such as driver’s license, Medicare card, and home title in a safe container, such as a waterproof lock box or file that you can take with you if you must leave your home.
No one ever wants to think a crisis will happen to them or their family, but by being prepared, thinking ahead, and having a plan, you will help ensure the safety of yourself and the person in your care.
For information about storm preparedness, evacuation routes, shelters and local emergency management agencies visit FloridaDisaster.org
, readysouthflorida.org, view the Florida Emergency Preparedness Guide or call 800.342.3557
(only active during emergencies)
If you have questions about preparing for a storm or disaster, have a non-life threatening crisis situation (if you have a life threatening emergency call 911
), or you are unsure how to manage, please call the Alzheimer Association’s 24-Hour Helpline
The Helpline remains operational before, during and after a storm. Caregivers can call for emotional support, resources and guidance regarding how to prepare for a storm, manage storm stress and how to connect to resources after the storm passes.
Important Contact Numbers:
Martin County & Okeechobee Counties:
Miami-Dade & Monroe Counties:
Palm Beach County:
St. Lucie County:
Emergency Management Services
dial 311 or call 954.831.3900
Palm Beach County:
St. Lucie County:
State Emergency Response Team (SERT):
800.342.3557 (only active during emergencies) or FloridaDisaster.org
Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)
: 1.800.621.FEMA or Fema.org
Alzheimer’s Association Helpline:
Alzheimer’s Association Safe Return™:
Florida Power & Light:
Safe & Well Red Cross Online Registry: SafeAndWell.org
This is an online registry sponsored by the Red Cross that allows users who have been affected by a disaster, to register themselves as “safe and well.” From a list of standard messages, you can select those that you want to communicate to your family members, letting them know of your well-being. Concerned family and friends can search the list of those who have registered themselves as “safe and well.” The results of a successful search will display a loved one’s First Name, Last Name, an “As of Date”, and the “safe and well” messages selected.
for more tips and procedures on preparing for a natural disaster as well as emergency kit instructions.
for a listing of Respite Care Facilities offering 24 hour emergency respite.