Each year, September is named National Preparedness Month. For much of the country, it is an active month for hurricanes. It is also an annual reminder to prepare for a natural disaster like a hurricane. While emergency preparations apply to people of all ages, older adults may have particular needs, and their preparations should reflect those needs.
Create an emergency kit. Basic items include a three-day supply of food and water, battery powered radio, first-aid kit, flashlight and whistle. Special considerations for older adults include a list of medications including dosages and treatment instructions. There should be enough medication to last a week or longer. Also include healthcare and service providers’ contact information. Tuck copies of essential documents like Medicare and Medicaid cards, banking information, medical history and some cash into a waterproof container and include in the kit.
Make a plan, write it down, and share it. Talk to providers in advance about how ongoing treatments, services and using medical devices will continue during an emergency. Communicating may be difficult. Knowing how to get in touch with loved ones is essential. Texting is often an effective means of communicating versus using the phone during a natural disaster. Practice texting with older adults. Another essential element of the plan is knowing whether or not it will be safe to remain at home. Unless an evacuation is ordered, understanding the delivery of necessary services may guide that decision along , with a dose of common sense.
Safety will be the primary concern during any emergency, and that is especially true for older adults. Having an emergency kit available and knowing in advance how to implement the plan will offer everyone peace of mind.
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