Community Blog

Important Documents Every Senior Should Have Prior to an Emergency

By Debbie Humphrey

Retirement is a stage of life filled with joy and relaxation. With this stage of our life also comes more responsibility. As seniors, we must actively think about the future and what we can do to prepare for an unfortunate circumstance. While no one can plan for a medical emergency, an accident or a slip and fall, we can ensure our paperwork is in order to   receive the proper care. If we’re not prepared, an emergency could potentially become a burden on our loved ones or family members.

 Here are list of important documents you should have readily accessible in the case of an emergency:

Vital Documents

Everyone should have their vital documents such as wills, deeds, medical records, social security number, bank account information and tax records already on file and stored in a safe place, such as a safe or safety deposit box. In our tech savvy world, they should also be scanned and stored online somewhere secure. This information and where it’s stored should also be known to immediate family in case they need to access it in an emergency.

Should the situation arise that a close friend or relative needs access to important documents in order to assist in getting an injured relative emergency or medical services, knowing what documents are needed will aid in getting them taken care of quicker and more efficiently.

Copied versions of important documents should also be easily accessible for family. Consider giving copied versions to immediate family or those who would be responsible in a case of emergency.

Medical Information

Your medical insurance card and Medicare cards. This also includes your social security number. More times than not, hospitals cannot perform medical services without establishing a social security number for patients.

Your medical records, including a list of all current medications being taken. Make sure all prescription information is up to date as medications may change frequently.

Emergency Contact Numbers

The names, addresses and phone numbers of people to notify in the case of an emergency. This can be children, grandchildren, close friends, or neighbors who might be able to assist. Including contact information for your medical provider is also a good preparative measure.

If you have a communication disability, have notes indicating the best way to communicate with you. Also consider having an on-the-body notification such as a bracelet or necklace signaling that you have a specific condition.

Legal Documents

Legal documents giving authority to a specific person should an elderly person become incapacitated. Through durable power of attorney or a health care proxy, it is crucial to establish someone who can make medical or other vital decisions in the case of the injured person being unable to make a decision themselves.

Other Information

If you have a pet, designate someone to take it in the event you should you have to be away from your home for an extended amount of time.

Prepare an emergency plan for potential disasters such as hurricanes, tornados, earthquakes, flooding or wildfires. Have a plan of action for each scenario.

The likelihood that you and your family will  recover from an emergency tomorrow often depends on the planning and preparation done today.