Severe weather can create stressful situations for people affected by Alzheimer’s disease

By on July 21, 2009

More than 500,000 Illinois citizens impacted by Alzheimer’s disease
STATE—Recent severe weather conditions in Illinois have prompted the Alzheimer’s Association—Greater Illinois Chapter to remind the public that loved ones with dementia will need extra help in the event of a weather related emergency.

Weather conditions during the summer months in Illinois can include tornadoes, severe thunderstorms, flooding and many other extremes. All of these situations can significantly add to stress levels and cause confusion for people with Alzheimer’s disease or a related dementia. For people with moderate to severe Alzheimer’s, stress and confusion can lead to risky and distressing behaviors, such as wandering off, agitation and surprising emotional outbursts.

“Currently in Illinois there are nearly 350,000 Alzheimer’s/dementia Caregivers,” said Erna Colborn, president and CEO of the Greater Illinois Chapter. “It is imperative that your caregiving plan include what to do in the event of a weather related emergency. It is also important that you register your loved one with MedicAlert+Safe Return, a national database that will help reunite lost loved ones with their family and friends, available through our association.”

For more information call the Association’s 24/7 Helpline at 1-800-272-3900 or visit

Prepare an Alzheimer’s-specific ‘emergency kit’
• Sturdy footwear
with Velcro
• Incontinence
• Something familiar to
hug (pillow, toy)
• Extra medications,
• A copy of the person’s
medical history,
insurance, Social
Security card, power
of attorney
• Contact information
for physicians
• The Alzheimer’s
Association 24-hour
Helpline number
(800) 272-3900
• Favorite items
or foods
• Recent photograph of
the person

If you know a disastrous situation is about to occur
• Get yourself and the person with Alzheimer’s to a safe place.
• Alert others (family, friends and medical team) you are
relocating; give them contact information.
• Give the person’s medical history, medications and
physician information to someone other than the
primary caregiver.
• Purchase extra medications.