Access and Functional Needs Information for First Responders
Always ask the person how you can best assist them.
Some elderly persons may respond more slowly to a crisis and may not fully understand the extent of the emergency. Repeat questions and answers
if necessary. Be patient! Taking time to listen carefully or to explain again may take less time than dealing with a confused person who may be less
willing to cooperate.
Reassure the person that they will receive medical assistance without fear of being placed in a nursing home.
Older people may fear being removed from their homes—be sympathetic and understanding and explain that this relocation is temporary.
Before moving an elderly person, assess their ability to see and hear; adapt rescue techniques for sensory impairments.
If possible, gather all medications before evacuating. Ask the person what medications they are taking and where their medications are stored. Most
people keep all their medications in one location in their homes.
If the person has dementia, turn off emergency lights and sirens if possible. Identify yourself and explain why you are there. Speak slowly, using
short words in a calm voice. Ask “yes” or “no” questions: repeat them if necessary. Maintain eye contact.