This fall has been a rough one in terms of natural disasters. As the number of intense storms and hurricanes continues to climb, adult children and family caregivers no doubt find themselves feeling more than a little anxious about their senior loved one’s safety. And with good reason.
Reports on the evening news show just how vulnerable older adults are to Mother Nature’s wrath. Emergency preparedness for seniors can mean the difference between life and death.
From blizzards to hurricanes, disaster planning for the elderly is a must. Especially for families who are separated by many miles and unable to be a senior’s first line of defense in a storm. This fall, hurricane preparedness is particularly important for older adults who live along coastal waterways.
Community education is part of Elmcroft’s mission to support older adults in their local communities. This is why we created these checklists to help you and your senior loved one prepare for the remaining hurricane season.
Hurricane Preparedness Checklist for the Elderly
While hurricane season technically runs from June 1st through November 30th each year, late summer and fall seem to be when storms intensify. The ideal time to plan is before the season begins. If you haven’t created your hurricane disaster plan yet, this checklist can help.
Here are the questions the American Red Cross says a hurricane plan for the elderly should address:
- What do I need to do to secure my home? Where will I get the supplies to do so?
- Who will help me prepare my home before a storm?
- If my home isn’t safe or if it becomes part of a forced evacuation zone, where will I go and how will I get there?
- What will happen to my pet? Is there a shelter near me that will accept pets?
- What items do I need to have ready to go if I am forced to evacuate (i.e. medications and supplies)?
- Who can I call if I am overwhelmed and need help?
If the senior you love isn’t in an evacuation area but local weather experts say the community will be impacted by the storm, it’s still important to be prepared.
A storm safe shelter in a senior’s home should be stocked with the supplies and food items necessary to ride out the storm and a few extra days.
- Make sure they have at least two weeks of all medications on hand including supplies needed for diabetes care and other health conditions
- Stock up on non-perishable food items and water, as well as a can opener and paper products
- Fill a cooler or two with ice and bottled water
- Check your first aid kit to see if it needs restocking and that it includes sunscreen and bug spray
- Have a pet carrier, pet food and supplies in an easy to access location
- Create a storm box that includes a battery operated weather radio, several flashlights, a cell phone charger and extra batteries for all
- Stash extra pillows, blankets and possibly even an air mattress in the safe space
- Place copies of important medical, legal and financial papers in a secure, waterproof container
Hurricane Hotline for Seniors and their Families
To help with hurricane preparedness for the elderly Leading Age, a national trade association for the senior housing industry, established a Hurricane Services for Seniors Hotline.
The Leading Age hotline is designed to help coordinate housing and services for seniors in hurricane-impacted regions. Families can call (844) 259-4747 for assistance. The hotline is staffed Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Eastern time.