The weather can be unpredictable. In just a few hours, the day can go from hot and humid to cool and stormy. It can leave people facing emergency situations, such as tornados and flooding, with very little notice. Because seniors are more likely to live with health conditions, planning ahead for an emergency is important.
From creating a home emergency kit to knowing what disaster relief resources are available, we thought it would be helpful to family caregivers and older adults if we share a few preparedness tips.
Developing a Plan
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), taking time to develop a disaster plan is the first step. Here are a few items you’ll want to think about:
- Family response list: Who lives the closest to the senior that could get to them most quickly in the case of an emergency or natural disaster? Make sure everyone in the family knows who will respond and in what order. For example, if a daughter lives close, she might be personally impacted by the event and unable to respond quickly. Which friend or family member would be up next? Create and share a list to keep everyone on the same page.
- Medical information: Though the primary family caregiver often knows which physician the senior sees and what medications they take, it’s important that other loved ones do too. In the event of an emergency, family members need to be able to quickly access and share physician names and numbers, prescription medications and pharmacies, over-the-counter medications, and other essentials. Best apps for personal medical records has a list of options you might find helpful in figuring out how to easily store this information.
- Evacuation plan: Depending on the type of emergency, you’ll also want to give some thought to how and where you’ll meet up afterward. For example, if the senior experiences a home fire, you’ll want to have a plan for how they can escape the house and where they will go to call you. It is important that this location be a safe distance away.
The CDC has a care plan form you can download and customize to help organize all of this vital information. It’s one that can be emailed to family members once completed.
Creating a Home Emergency Kit for a Senior Loved One
Putting together a home emergency kit is the best way to prepare for a disaster. The experts from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) recommend that your kit include important essentials:
- A three-to-five-day supply of nonperishable foods, such as canned meats, beans, and fruit, along with a manual can opener.
- One-to-two-week’s supply of all prescription and over-the-counter medications along with special equipment and supplies. Remember to replenish this if anything changes.
- One gallon of water for each person living in the home, including pets.
- Several flashlights and extra batteries for each of them.
- A hand crank weather radio or one that is battery operated and an extra set of batteries.
- A battery-operated cell phone charger or external power pack.
- Personal care items, an extra set of sturdy shoes or boots, and a change of clothes (a sweat suit is often best).
- A first aid kit that includes a whistle or horn to call for help.
- Supply of paper plates, plastic cups, plastic silverware and napkins.
- Food and medications for household pets.
- A bucket stocked with cleaning supplies, such as bleach wipes, disinfectant spray, paper towels, gloves, and face masks.
- Blankets, pillows, folding chairs, and a cot to sleep on.
A small, easy-to-use fire extinguisher.
It’s usually best to store this kit in or close to the area your family member will most likely go in the event of an emergency. The basement is the first choice. If their home doesn’t have one, an interior bathroom or closet are the next best options.
Sunrise Communities Are Always Prepared
One of the advantages of moving to a senior living community is that most are ready to handle emergencies of all types. From fire suppression systems in suites and hallways to back-up generators, plans are in place to keep residents safe. Call 1-877-800-0364 to learn more!