National Preparedness Month: Preparing Seniors for Disaster

By: Amanda Northcutt

It is important to cater your family’s emergency plan to the needs of its members. If your family includes seniors, it is important to create an emergency kit that will help you be prepared for whatever comes your way.

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Make sure you are prepared with the following items:

  • If you take medicine or use a medical treatment on a daily basis, be sure you have what you need to make it on your own for at least a week, maybe longer.
  • Keep written copies of your prescriptions, over-the-counter medications and orders for medical equipment, including dosage, treatment and allergy information in your emergency kit. Also consider keeping electronic copies of this information on a flash drive. This could be useful for others even if you don’t personally use a computer often.
  • If you are able to obtain an emergency supply of prescription medications or consumable medical supplies, be sure to establish a plan for rotating your supply so it remains up-to-date.
  • If you can’t easily obtain a emergency supplies, talk to your pharmacist or doctor about what else you can do to prepare.
  • If you are unable to obtain an emergency supply, be sure to always fill prescriptions on the first day you become eligible for a refill, rather than waiting until the day you run out.
  • If you undergo routine treatments administered by a clinic or hospital or if you receive regular services such as home health care, treatment or transportation, talk to your service provider about their emergency plans. Work with them to identify back-up service providers and incorporate them into your personal support network.
  • Consider other personal needs such as eyeglasses, hearing aids and hearing aid batteries, wheelchair batteries and oxygen. 
  • Include copies of important documents in your emergency supply kits such as family records, medical records, wills, deeds, social security number, charge and bank accounts information and tax records.

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 It is also crucial to have a social network seniors can rely on:

  • Make arrangements, prior to an emergency, for your support network to immediately check on you after a disaster and, if needed, offer assistance.
  • Exchange important keys.
  • Show them where you keep emergency supplies.
  • Share copies of your relevant emergency documents, evacuation plans and emergency health information card.
  • Agree on and practice methods for contacting each other in an emergency. Do not count on the telephones working.
  • You and your personal support network should always notify each other when you are going out of town and when you will return.
  • The relationship should be mutual. You have a lot to contribute! Learn about each other’s needs and how to help each other in an emergency. You might take responsibility for food supplies and preparation, organizing neighborhood watch meetings and interpreting, among other things.
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