Preparing the Elderly before Disaster Strikes
Many of our nation’s elderly live alone or with elderly spouses. Take time to reach out to the elderly in your life and help them make a working plan for a natural disaster before a storm strikes. Make a plan to create a network of several support people that can come to the aid of the elderly in the event of a problem. Work as a team and make sure everyone knows the same information.
Help the individual by making a checklist of important questions and then helping them find the answers. Take the list below and add questions that pertain to their individual needs.
Who will check on the individual in the event of an emergency? Does that contact person have keys to the home and alarm codes to enter the residence in the event the resident cannot open the door?
If power outages occur, will the elderly be able to stay in the home or will they need to be moved to another location. What location will that be, neighbors or family members?
What family members should a neighbor call in the event of an emergency? Does the neighbor have the contact phone numbers?
It is important for the elderly to have a survival kit in the home. Help the individual make a kit and know where it is stored. Include in the kit non-perishable foods enough for three days. Bottled water. Baby wipes and hand sanitizer. Flash light, candles and water proof matches.
Work with a pharmacist and your doctor to have at least a three day supply of any medications on hand. Have an extra pair of eye glasses. If you have a hearing aid, make sure you have extra batteries.
In the event of illness or injury, a medical record card needs to be clearly posted for rescue individuals. Keep a second copy of your records in your survival kit. The card needs to include:
- Information about all medications you are taking
- Any allergies
- Medical providers and their contact information
- Any physical assistance objects such as walkers or hearing aids
- Family and clergy contact information
For lesser concerns, the following plans need to be made for clean up and repair situations.
- Who will clean the yard of debris, fallen trees, or other objects brought on by storms?
- Does the elderly individual have the tools to clean debris, saw, rake and other yard equipment?
In the event of damage to the home, who will handle the repair? Does the individual have the name and number of a builder they know and trust? Write that information down and keep in the emergency kit. Have a copy of home owners’ insurance papers in the emergency kit as well and have a contact phone number of the local insurance agent to contact about any home damage before repairs are done.
Sit down with your own elderly family members and make plans. This is crucial if they live away from you and you would not be able to get to them in an emergency. Meet and talk with the individuals that would be responsible for your loved one. Go over any special needs or concerns you have about your family member with the chosen individuals that will be there in your absence. Talk to elderly neighbors in your area and make sure they too, have a plan of action.