Disaster communication: A tale of two mothers-in-law

Posted by Dr. El - September 28, 2017 - Communication, McKnight's LTC News, Personal Reflections, Stress/Crisis management - No Comments

Both of my mothers-in-law are in long-term care communities in Florida. In retrospect, it would have been a good idea to ask the facilities how they planned to keep in touch with us during and after Hurricane Irma. If the facility where your loved one is living doesn’t have a plan for communicating with families during an emergency, you may want to show them this article.

Here’s my latest article on McKnight’s Long-Term Care News:

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Disaster communication: A tale of two mothers-in-law

Both of my mothers-in-law live in long-term care communities in Florida. (I’ll keep the backstory about having two MILs a mystery.)

One MIL lives in a place that was excellent about how they communicated with family members before, during and after Hurricane Irma. The other MIL’s facility handled that aspect of care poorly.

At Bentley Village in Naples on the southwest coast of Florida, all 800 residents of the CCRC were evacuated in advance of the storm, even when everyone thought the hurricane was heading toward the East Coast. While not every organization can afford to evacuate their residents to plush hotels, all of them can afford to do what Bentley did next.

At the top of the home page of its website they placed a bright red banner instructing site visitors to click upon it for more information on Hurricane Irma. The following page contains continually updated reports on the progress the management is making toward assessing and repairing the damage to their homes, as well as an estimate of how long the process will take. A typical entry contains the date and time of the posting, the work that’s been done and what has yet to be accomplished.

They recently added photographs of the damage to the community. The photos clearly show even those most eager to return to their homes why they must wait.

In addition, there’s a list of locations where people are sheltering since residents from skilled nursing, assisted living and independent living were sent to different locales. A pet-friendly hotel was selected for independent living residents with animals.

When I discovered my MIL’s cell phone wasn’t working, I checked the website, got the phone number of the hotel where she was staying and was immediately connected to her room. She claimed they were “having a ball.”

Very reassuring.

For the entire article, visit:

Disaster communication: A tale of two mothers-in-law