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Evacuating your home during a fire or flood is scary and stressful — and it’s especially so for someone with dementia.

“Putting them into a new space where they’re not familiar, they’re not comfortable: That’s going to be really challenging for them to navigate,” says associate professor Allison Gibson of the University of Kentucky College of Social Work.

She says to minimize stress and the disruption to people’s lives, preparation is key.

She advises caregivers to help prepare an emergency kit – or go bag – for their loved ones or clients. It should include essential supplies, such as copies of identification and medicine.

And she says it should also include items that provide comfort to help people stay calm.

She reminds caregivers that they often cannot be present — especially during an unexpected disaster. So she says it’s important to write down thorough instructions for whoever else may be providing care: “medication schedules, maybe a schedule of routine if you’re providing care for somebody with dementia or another kind of related disorder or disease,” she suggests.

And she says caregiving organizations should partner with other local agencies to make sure that plans are in place to protect and care for those who are most vulnerable when disaster strikes.

Reporting credit: Sarah Kennedy/ChavoBart Digital Media