It’s hard enough for able-bodied young people to pack up and evacuate when a hurricane is approaching. Can you imagine the complications that may arise for a frail or ill older person?
Getting an evacuation order doesn’t have to cause a crisis for seniors and family members who can’t come to help them pack up and get out. With a little planning, seniors and their families can be better prepared, should the threat of a natural disaster arise. Here are 9 senior home help tips for preparing your loved ones for hurricane season:
- Gather important documents such as insurance policies, advanced healthcare directives and legal documents, social security cards, birth and marriage certificates, passports and a list of important phone numbers. Put them in a waterproof container and store them in a safe, easy to access spot in the house.
- Prepare a personal first aid and medical supply kit with two weeks worth of the senior’s prescription medication and medical supplies (exceptions will be made by insurance companies to allow you this supply), plus other essentials like hand sanitizer, sunscreen and over-the-counter drugs such as aspirin and anti-diarrhea medicine. Keep this kit packed and ready to go at all times.
- Make sure to have a one to two-week supply of non-perishable food and plenty of water (more than 1 gallon per person/day) in the home at all times.
- Keep a small lightweight suitcase or duffel bag ready with comfortable clothes, sturdy shoes, rain gear and a flashlight with extra batteries.
- Identify all of the safe rooms and areas that the senior should go to in the event that sudden evacuation is impossible. Determine the best escape route in the event of an emergency as well. Make sure the senior has a clear understanding of what to do for each situation.
- Conduct a general safety inspection and go through a senior homecare falls prevention checklist. Make sure freestanding bookcases and cabinets, mirrors, artwork, and other items hanging from walls are tightly secured so that they don’t fall over and injure someone.
- Obtain an emergency kit – such as those available through the American Red Cross – for the senior’s home. If the senior is still driving, stash one in the car as well.
- Create a support network of at least three people who can check in and offer senior assistance as needed. Make sure each of these people is familiar with all disaster plans, locations of emergency supplies, community response and evacuation plans, local shelters, etc. Be sure that the senior knows how to reach all of the people in their support network.
- Be realistic about plans and options. Remember that in the event of even a minor storm, homes may be without electricity and water for many days. If a senior relies on home services or suffers from health issues that may be affected by lack of power, staying in the home may not be realistic. We highly recommend considering alternative options. Also, evacuation should be done well in advance and emergency shelters should be a last resort option.
You can never be too careful or thorough when ensuring the safety and well being of a loved one. If you have any senior home help questions, or would like more information on how seniors and their families can prepare for hurricanes and other disasters, please contact us at 727-447-5845 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Download a hurricane prep checklist here.