Preparing for a Natural Disaster: Strategies for Older Adults
Unforeseen natural occurrences like hurricanes, tornadoes, and blizzards can necessitate swift evacuation or the need to stay put under challenging circumstances. Prior knowledge of emergency protocols is vital to ensure safety in such situations.
For older adults residing within communities, encountering emergencies presents its own set of challenges. These challenges may include limited mobility, persistent health conditions, or lack of nearby family or friends for support. Services typically available, such as caregiver assistance, in-home healthcare, and meal deliveries, might be temporarily unavailable. Furthermore, advanced age-related obstacles such as hearing or vision impairments, as well as cognitive limitations, might hinder one’s ability to comprehend and respond to emergency instructions.
It is prudent for either the older adult or their caregiver to be well-prepared for potential emergencies through the creation, regular review, and practice of a comprehensive plan, alongside the maintenance of an emergency supply kit.
Developing a Plan: Step one in preparing for emergencies involves crafting a personalized plan. Collaborate with friends, family, and neighbors to design a plan tailored to your specific needs.
Select a designated contact person responsible for checking on your well-being during emergencies, and establish reliable communication methods such as phone calls or door knocking. Consider discussing the formation of a mutual check-in system with neighbors. Compile a list of contact details for friends and family; keep one copy near your phones and include another in your Emergency Supply Kit. Devise a clear evacuation strategy and determine safe destinations. If you reside in a retirement or assisted living community, familiarize yourself with established emergency procedures. Keep easily accessible copies of exit routes and designated meeting spots. Draft a care plan and maintain a duplicate within your Emergency Supply Kit. The CDC provides a user-friendly care plan template for reference. For individuals requiring medical assistance, transportation, or special accommodations during emergencies, enrolling in services like SMART911, Code Red, or your local county registry is recommended. These services aid first responders in identifying and assisting those in immediate need.
Assembling an Emergency Supply Kit In the aftermath of an emergency, access to clean water and electricity might be disrupted. It’s essential to have a self-sufficient stockpile of sustenance, water, and essentials to sustain yourself for approximately 72 hours.
Visit Ready.gov for a comprehensive checklist of essential items for your Disaster Supply Kit.
Health-Related Essentials: Maintain a minimum 3-day supply of necessary medications. If specific medications require refrigeration, ensure the availability of a cooler and ice packs. Wear an identification band that includes your complete name, contact details for a family member or caregiver, and any pertinent allergies. Keep spare batteries for hearing aids, as well as a case for eyeglasses or contact lenses and suitable contact solution. Include medical supplies like syringes or additional batteries as needed. Record information about medical devices, such as wheelchair or walker specifics, oxygen requirements, and vendor information.