Preparing for extreme weather is a burden for anyone in the path of a storm or fire. People with Parkinson’s disease (PD) and their caregivers should take these tips into consideration to ensure that all PD-related needs are accounted for when preparing for a hurricane or any other natural disaster:
- Check all your medications. Take inventory of all medications and reorder any that are running low.
- Write your medication list down. Write down or print a list of all your medications (not just PD medications). Include medication name, strength, times taken and dosages. This customizable medication schedule can help.
- Make a list of your doctors. Make a list of your doctors and their contact information and take it with you if you need to evacuate before a storm.
- Water and food preparedness. Medications may need to be taken with a meal and usually water. Calculate five gallons of water per person per day. Buy enough water and food to last three to five days.
- Stock your Aware in Care kit in the event you need to educate an emergency responder or health care professional about your PD needs. Order one here.
- Have your Medical Alert Card handy. Keep it with you at all times. Print one here.
- Check in with your support network before and after. Arrange for at least one friend or family member to call you during a weather emergency, especially if you live alone.
- Practice Anxiety reduction techniques. The stress of possibly losing power or being evacuated could make anyone anxious, but stress can worsen PD symptoms. Download a meditation or breathing app or try to distract yourself by reading a book.
- Know your nearest shelter. Visit the Red Cross website to find yours.
Evacuations can happen suddenly, forcing people to quickly leave their homes. In the event of an evacuation:
- Write and follow a packing list. Make sure to include all medications, water and snacks.
- Know your community response plan. Learn about your area’s response and evacuation plans before a storm hits. Find your state’s emergency management agency here.
- Take all your medications in their bottles with you.
- Take your walker, cane or wheelchair. Even if you only use it occasionally.
Call the Parkinson's Foundation free Helpline at 1-800-4PD-INFO (473-4636) to order the Aware in Care kit or to speak with a Helpline specialist about preparing for extreme weather.