Snow Birds, Emergencies and Being Prepared

Originally posted at on Feb 20, 2013:

As many seniors prepare for a trip south, I wanted to provide some suggestions on what should be included on the packing list. When reviewing what documents to be included – as part of the ‘Just In Case’ discussion- it is important to ensure extra medication is included, properly labelled and listed along with the pharmacy and doctor’s name and number.

An emergency contact list should also be included. While there is a great app available for many cell phones that stores emergency contact names and numbers (ICE- In Case of Emergency) not all seniors use a cell phone. An emergency contact list should be included in one’s wallet. It can be as simple as including: In case of emergency, contact my daughter, Mary Smith, at …. ….. ……(h) or ……….(cell).It is also important to include any medical conditions so First Responders know if , for example, you are slurring your words, that it may be related to diabetes or another medical condition, rather than losing time, assessing or guessing that you may have had too much to drink.

An emergency contact list should also be posted on your refrigerator. I have been told that it is one of the first places that police/paramedics look when arriving at a residence when the occupant is not able to provide the relevant information themselves.

What about the other important paperwork, such as a Living Will? The Office of the Public Guardian and Trustee states that “the expression “living will” is sometimes used to refer to a document in which you write down what you want to happen if you become ill and can’t communicate your wishes about treatment. It is quite common, for example, for people to write a “living will” saying that they do not want to be kept alive on artificial life supports if they have no hope of recovery. The term “advance directive” is also frequently used to refer to such a document. Some people use the phrase “proxy directive” to describe a document that combines a Power of Attorney and a “living will”. “

So as you pack up your clothes and other necessities for your trip, please think about including these important documents.
-Audrey Miller

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