Last year countless millions of Americans watched in awe as devastating hurricanes made landfall in Texas, Puerto Rico and Florida. Many onlookers had loved ones living in the affected areas, including senior citizens. If nothing else, the danger associated with those storms taught us that emergency preparedness is essential, and that having an emergency preparation plan for seniors in place before a disaster of that magnitude strikes can mean life or death.
Many seniors who are still living at home have special daily living requirements and medical needs that must be addressed within their emergency preparation plans. If you have an elderly loved one who’s still aging in place close by, or especially in another state, it’s important to discuss disaster preparedness with them before the next event presents itself. To assist your efforts, here are some tips on devising an emergency preparation plan for seniors.
Devise an Emergency Preparation Plan for Seniors
When emergencies like natural disasters strike, people located within the impact zone can find themselves without power for days, or even weeks. Food shopping, banking services and telecommunications can also get disrupted. Whether they’ll need to evacuate their homes in a hurry, or hunker down in place for a few days, an emergency preparation plan for seniors should be devised that encompasses these key areas:
Disaster Preparedness Kit
Seniors need to keep an easily-accessible kit in their home containing:
- Nonperishable food
- Bottled water
- Transistor radio
- Personal hygiene products
- Extra car and house keys.
Copies of important personal documents should also be considered, such as:
- Birth certificates
- Insurance policies
- Medication lists
- The deed to their home
All these items need to be packed in one or more lightweight waterproof duffle bags or containers on wheels, with enough supplies for at least 3 days.
Share the Plan with Others
The senior’s emergency preparation plan should be shared with loved ones including family members. An evacuation rendezvous point should be identified, along with how the senior will communicate with them if essential municipal services go down. Loved ones should be flagged as “ICE” contacts (In Case of Emergency) on their phones, and it’s wise for seniors to also carry a written list on their person of those ICE contacts.
Consider Senior-Specific Needs
Older adults have unique needs like medications, medical equipment, and important personal documents to protect. Medical equipment like wheelchairs, walkers and oxygen tanks should be labeled with their name, address and phone numbers.
Don’t Forget Family Pets
Service animals and pets shouldn’t be left out of an emergency preparation plan for seniors. Their food, water and vaccination records need to be included within their owner’s disaster preparedness kit, and all animals should wear ID tags.
Having an emergency preparation plan for seniors can make the difference between life and death when an emergency strikes.
When Emergencies Strike First in Care is Ready
At First in Care, we understand the importance of emergency preparation for seniors, and our home health agency is CMS-compliant. When disasters strike we stand ready to provide the following emergency services to our patients:
- Getting them where they need to be
- Ensuring that they have adequate supplies when “sheltering-in-place”
- Transporting them to medical appointments or safer locations
- Communicating with patients, their families, emergency workers and healthcare providers to ensure continuity-of-care
- Providing 24-hour care when needed
- Implementing nursing rotations to keep caregivers fresh
- Moving patients from room to room within their homes when necessary
- Keeping them calm, comforted and healthy
- Looking out for their pets and service animals
- Meal preparation and cleanup
- Staying in contact using FaceTime when service is available
In the end, our goal at First in Care is to continue delivering our reliable senior home care services to our patients even during emergency events, and no matter what it takes. If you have a senior loved one that’s currently under our care, rest assured that their continued safety, health and wellbeing during a crisis is our agency’s ultimate focus. For more information on putting together an emergency preparation plan for seniors, or the dependable, flexible and affordable senior home care services we provide to families in the Bradenton and Manatee County, FL area, visit: www.firstincare.com.