Preparing for an Emergency
In the event of any emergency, do you know what to do? Good preparation is half the battle. For people with diabetes, this means not only protecting your home in the event of disaster, but also protecting your health.
Create a Network
Make sure there are people you can rely on who can check on you and provide assistance if you need it. These members of your network should be able to get to you and/or help you quickly. In addition, choose someone out of town who you and others of your family can connect with and relay information to and through.
Know Your Needs
This will be a large part of your preparation plan. Figure out what you will be able to do for yourself if disaster strikes and what you will need others to do for you. Consider the potential changes to the environment as you assess your situation, ask yourself the following questions and record your answers in written or taped form:
- Do you need help with personal care in any manner? Is there special equipment you need in order to care for yourself?
- What will you do if water is cut off or you are unable to heat it for several days?
- Do you have equipment that requires electricity? What will you do in the case of an electrical outage?
- How will you handle debris in or around your home or along your planned exit route?
- Do you require special transportation?
- If you have a caregiver, what will you do if that person cannot get to you? What kind of help do you need?
- In the event of an evacuation, do you need help leaving the premises? Can you reach and activate alarms?
- If you are in a building with an elevator, are there stairs accessible? Will you be able to read all signs?
- How will you be able to call for help if needed? If you are hearing and/or visually impaired, how will you communicate if your traditional methods are not working or are not available (i.e. your hearing aid gets wet; you don't have an interpreter; etc.)?
- If you use ramps, what will you do if they are damaged and inoperable?
- If you have a service pet, how will you care for it? Is there someone else who can provide care for your animal if you are unable to? Do you have necessary licenses updated and available so you will be permitted to keep your service pet in a shelter or other location outside of your home?
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Many people say that depression is a side effect or complication of diabetes. Without discounting the association of the psychological condition with the physical one, I'm not convinced that our high and/or unstable glucose levels are directly responsible for that change in our mental state. My belief is that the unrelenting need for self-care, for following the sort of care schedules that can drive licensed, professional caregivers crazy, is what overwhelms us...