Each year, millions of residents along coastal areas of the United States dread the onset of the Atlantic Hurricane Season, which rolls around each June 1st. They begin evaluating and activating their emergency prepareness plans weeks in advance. For the elderly, having an emergency plan may not be something they have ever considered doing. Perhaps they have never had to evacute due to an approaching storm or no one has ever instructed them on the essentials of imeplementing such a plan. Assuring the disaster preparedness of their elderly loved ones should be a part of every family’s personal safety plan. Here are some important things for care providers to consider when creating an emergency plan for an elder.
Is the family planning to take their elderly loved ones with them or will they have to rely on local and state level evacuation plans implemented by government officials? If the family is planning to take the elder with them, have they secured a place for them? If the elder is going to have to be evacuated by an agency, have they pre-registered the senior with that agency to assure a spot on the roster? Care providers can be utilized for liaising with the relevant authorities or agencies.
If the senior has special medical conditions or health concerns that require medical treatment on a regular basis, how will those needs be met during an evacuation? Does the family have the means to do so? Are medical services included in the governmental agencies’ evacuation plans? Does the senior have or have access to an additional week’s supply of any prescribed medication in the event of an evacuation? Due to the closeness and familiarity with the senior, care providers can help provide ‘checklists’ for the family to use when making their plans.
Will the senior be in close proximity to a hospital during the evacuation to ensure they receive medical treatment in the event of a life-threatening emergency?
Have the senior’s important documents been secured in a waterproof container and clearly labeled? Does the container include all important paperwork such as deeds to homes and vehicles, insurance policies, banking information, medical charts and information, and personal identification such as social security cards?
Does the senior have a bag packed with at least a week’s worth of clothing and personal care items such as toiletries? What about extra batteries for hearing aids? An extra pair of eyeglasses or contact lenses for those with impaired vision? Have arrangements been made to secure the senior’s home while they are away or to provide care for any pets that they may have? Again, due to the familiarity with the home and the elders needs, care providers can help in putting together luggage and belongings for the journey that lies ahead and the period during which they wont be able to return home.