How to Create an Emergency Care Plan for a Senior You Love

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When it comes to healthy aging, quite honestly, there’s a lot to do. You’re supposed to make sure to keep your body active and your brain engaged all while maintaining your social connections as well. Sure, the benefits to your overall well-being are worth the effort, but retirement is supposed to be a time with less responsibility on your plate, right? Well, it turns out that in senior living you can have your cake and eat it too, so to speak. Here’s how programs like our Vivid Life make keeping active, engaged, and connected easy and fun! 

Benefits of Healthy Aging 

Good things happen when you focus on healthy aging. In addition to feeling better overall, which in and of itself is a win, other benefits of keeping active, engaged, and connected include:  

  • Improved ability to do everyday things ​ 
  • Reduced impact of illness and chronic disease​ 
  • Enhanced mobility, flexibility, and balance
  • Improved sleep
  • Increased energy level
  • Reduced feelings of depression and stress
  • Increased feelings of happiness and self-confidence
  • Reduced risk of cognitive decline 
  • Increased mental adaptability and cognitive reserve 
  • Improved memory recall and problem-solving skills 
  • Improved concentration and attention to detail  

How Senior Living Can Help 

At home, particularly when living alone, it can be hard to stay as active, engaged, and connected as you’d like. From lack of opportunity to lack of motivation to lack of transportation to mobility challenges, and more, it’s tough, we get it! That’s why we created the Vivid Life program in our senior living communities. It’s composed of three parts: Vibrant Body, Vibrant Brain, and Vibrant Connections. Here’s what each entails:  

Vibrant Body We offer amenities such as a state-of-the-art fitness center, a pool, walking trails, gardening opportunities, and even a dog park to help you stay active. A sample of activities includes:  

  • Walking club – Daily walks at different outdoor locations using pedometers to measure steps. 
  • Yoga – At least once per week for gentle yoga, and once per week for mindful breathing. 
  • Fitness classes – At least two times per week using a variety of hand weights, resistance bands, and circuit-type exercises. 
  • Tai Chi – At least once per week with a live instructor. 
  • Non-traditional exercise – Dancing, gardening, etc. at least two times per week. 
  • Physical games and sports – Golf, putting, bowling, croquet, bocce, and ping pong available daily with organized events one to two times per week. 

Vibrant Brain We offer monthly calendars filled with classes, events, creative arts, and enrichment opportunities to help keep you engaged. A sample of activities includes: 

  • Visiting lecture series – Twice per month with topics such as cultural, historical, local interest, career-oriented, etc. 
  • Creative art series – At least one per week with a theme that runs 3-6 weeks, such as poetry writing, storytelling, painting, digital photography, etc. 
  • Learning series – At least three times per month with an emphasis on learning something new such as foreign language, sign language, technology, hobbies, etc. 
  • Games – At least one time per week and may include poker, bridge, Scrabble, etc. 
  • Mindfulness – A meditation class once per week and gratitude discussion group twice monthly. 
  • Church service – At least once a week through visits by local churches. 
  • Stress reduction – At least once per month class that offers deep breathing exercises, nature walks, music appreciation, spa-type treatments, etc. 

 Vibrant Connections We offer resident-led clubs, social events, outings and volunteer opportunities for any interest to help you stay connected. A sample of activities includes: 

  • Outings – At least twice per month and may include going to concerts, art shows, museum visits, theatre productions, etc. 
  • Intergenerational programming – At least once per month and focuses on building relationships between young adults/children and residents. 
  • New resident welcome party – At least once per month to formally introduce all new residents, and includes ice breakers, social games, etc. to encourage connection. 
  • Philanthropic program – At least once per month provide residents the opportunity to give back to the community, such as volunteering for a local food bank or pet shelter. 
  • Resident-led clubs – May include game clubs, professional clubs, common interests, etc. that meet at least monthly.  

What’s more, it’s all right outside your door (or transportation is provided offsite) and all in a supportive environment with home maintenance, housekeeping, and restaurant-style dining freeing your time to make it even easier to stay active, engaged, and connected. 

Learn more about Vitality Living’s Vivid Life programs. Or find a Vitality Living community near you today to schedule a tour. 



No family member likes to think the worst will happen to a senior loved one. But health emergencies, natural disasters, accidents, and other unexpected events can occur without warning. If you are an adult child involved in the care of a parent, having a plan in place in case of an emergency is vital.

Today, we’ll cover three areas of emergency preparedness: an emergency care plan, a back-up caregiver plan and what you should do to plan for a natural disaster.

Emergency Care Plan Basics

Start by getting your older loved one’s medical information well organized. While you probably know which doctor they see for their arthritis and where they go for physical therapy, others likely won’t.

  • Legal Documents: If your family member hasn’t done so already, encourage them to schedule an appointment with a local eldercare attorney to create the legal documents most adults need. While the attorney will be able to offer you the best advice on this matter, you will likely need a power of attorney for health care, a power of attorney for finances, and a will.
  • Document Daily Routines: If your senior family member needs to stick to a specific diet or adhere to a strict daily routine, put all of those types of notes in order. Make it as easy as possible for someone else to provide your loved one with the support they need if you aren’t able to do so.
  • Medical File Assembled: Create a binder of all of the senior’s important health care information. A medication list, contact information for their physicians and other health care professionals, and a complete medical history should be included. If you don’t have them, contact each of their doctors to ask for copies of treatment notes and visit summaries.

Back-Up Caregiver Plan

It isn’t uncommon for a weary caregiver to experience a health crisis of their own. Even something simple as a bad cold might leave you unable to provide the support your senior needs. If that happens, you need to have a plan in place for bridging the gap in care.

Here are a few tips for creating a back-up caregiver plan:

  • Family & Friends: Think about who from your circle of family and friends might be able to pitch in and help with caregiving, even on a short-term basis. Create a list which includes contact information.
  • Interview Respite Care Providers: It can also help give you peace of mind to interview in-home care agencies and senior living providers who offer respite services. Narrow your choices down to a few you feel comfortable with. Add their names and contact information to your back-up plan. In the event that you are sidelined from caregiving duties unexpectedly, it will be easier for others to follow your notes and arrange for care from a professional.
  • Review Plans and Notes: Finally, make sure those on your back-up team know where to find everything. If possible, review the emergency care plan you created with them in person. Your goal is to keep your loved one’s care as seamless as possible.

Disaster Preparedness for Seniors

Finally, it is important to create a plan for your loved one should a weather emergency or other natural disaster occurs. Especially if the senior lives alone. It might be an earthquake if they live in the west or a blizzard in the north. Preparing for the worst is important.

The Family Caregiver Alliance recommends families create an emergency supply kit and store it in a location that is easy for the senior to access. It might be something you stash in the basement if your area is prone to tornados or in a closet near the exit door if earthquakes are a concern.

Your emergency supplies should include:

  • A week’s worth of extra medications
  • Food and water to last a week along with a can opener and other utensils that might be needed
  • Pillows, blankets and a cot if space permits
  • Flashlights and extra batteries
  • A first aid kit with items such as bandages, gauze, medical tape, hand sanitizer, antibiotic ointment, and eye wash
  • Any medical supplies and devices needed such as diabetes management supplies or an extra oxygen tank
  • Copies of important items like Medicare and insurance cards
  • An emergency crank radio
  • A whistle to call for help
  • A cane or other walking device
  • Pet food and supplies if you have a furry friend

More Emergency Resources for Caregivers

Want to learn more about seniors, caregivers and emergency planning?

These sites have resources that will help you feel confident you are prepared for the worst:

Supporting an Aging Parent’s Needs

One thing most family caregivers have in common is an on-going feeling of uncertainty. Worrying if you are providing the best possible care for a senior comes with the territory. It’s why we created a special resource.

The Caregiver’s Checklist: Supporting An Aging Parent is a comprehensive tool that covers everything from how to assess a senior’s environment for safety risks to knowing the early warning signs of dementia. It is a free download we encourage you to take advantage of!

caregiver's checklist
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