Floridians are certainly no strangers to hurricanes and forecasters have predicted another active storm season this year. When a hurricane makes landfall, residents aged 65-and-over are most vulnerable because of health problems, diminished awareness and transportation challenges. In the storm’s aftermath a lack of food, water, shelter and medicine can quickly place the elderly at risk. If your aging in place parents currently live near the coast here’s how to help them prepare for hurricane season.
How Hurricanes Threaten the Elderly
Flooding, damaging winds, power outages and drinking water shortages are all possible during a hurricane. Oftentimes it takes emergency crews several days or weeks to restore power and clear roads so that residents can safely get the supplies and medical attention they need.
In general, here are some of the potential dangers that hurricanes pose to the elderly:
- Food, medicine and water shortages
- Vandalism and looting in the aftermath
- Flying debris that causes serious injuries
- High water inside and around their home
- Social isolation
- Risk of illness, malnutrition or dehydration
Many seniors rely on life-saving medical equipment that runs on electricity, and the average senior takes four or more prescription drugs every day. Not being able to use their equipment or take medications can quickly place an elder at risk.
Hurricane Season Preparedness Tips for Seniors
To keep your aging parents safe, include these in their hurricane preparedness plan:
Form a support team
Notably if you live far away, form a support network of at least three trustworthy individuals who can check-in on your parents before, during and after the hurricane. Mom and dad’s support team could include their friends, family members, neighbors or paid caregivers.
Since hurricanes are notorious for power outages, floodwaters and impassable roads, help your parents prepare to hunker down in place for at least three days. Be sure that they’ve stockpiled enough drinking water, non-perishable food, medications and other essential supplies in their home. If they can afford one, a backup generator is always a plus.
Designate a safe room
Find an area of the home that would best serve as a “safe room” to protect mom and dad from flying debris and floodwaters until the hurricane passes or help arrives. A windowless inner bathroom or large closet with a clear pathway to an exit makes an ideal place.
Prepare a home emergency kit
If they’ll be sheltering in place be sure that that your parents have a home emergency kit that contains:
- Prescription medications and OTC pain relievers
- Drinking water (1 gallon per person per day for at least 3 days)
- Vitamin-rich snack bars
- A good flashlight with extra batteries
- Transistor radio
- First aid kit
- Cell phone with a charger and extra battery
- Extra eyeglasses or contact lenses
Pack a go bag
During a mandatory evacuation scenario precious minutes count. Help your parents each pack a waterproof “go bag” on wheels so that they are ready to leave on a moments notice. Pack the go bags with the same items that you would in a home emergency kit, along with:
- Copies of important documents like birth certificates, insurance policies, Social Security cards, Medicare cards, bank accounts, home deed, etc.
- A list of current prescriptions, along with contact information for doctors and family members
- Updated immunization records
- Lightweight, waterproof clothing that can be worn in layers
Fortify the home
Reduce the likelihood for property damage by fortifying your parents’ home against high winds, water and flying debris. Installing storm shutters and rain gutters is a good start, along with trimming or completely removing dangerous trees.
Include Us in Your Hurricane Emergency Plan
Another option you have is to include First In Care in your hurricane season preparedness plan. Since we’ve seen our share of hurricanes over the years, we now have emergency caregiving protocols in place to help ensure that the seniors we serve remain safe and sound during hurricanes and other disasters. As a fully licensed and insured home care agency our disaster preparedness plan is compliant with all federal and state guidelines.
The skilled professionals at First In Care are also well trained on using the latest technologies to communicate with clients and remotely provide for their needs under even the most challenging of circumstances. To learn more now about our family trusted senior home care services, or to schedule a FREE consultation for an elder in Manatee County, FL, today, please visit us at: www.firstincare.com!