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Be Ready: Emergency Preparedness for Seniors and Their Caregivers

December 11, 2018

Natural disasters, such as hurricanes, tornadoes, and blizzards, may force you to evacuate your home or shelter-in-place at short notice. It is important to know what to do in case of an emergency well before disaster strikes.

 

If you are an older adult living in the community, you may face some challenges during an emergency such as mobility problems, chronic health conditions, or you may not have any family or friends nearby to help. Support services that are usually available, such as help from caregivers or in-home health care and meal delivery services, may be unavailable for a period of time. You or the person you care for can be prepared for emergency situations by creating a plan, reviewing or practicing it regularly, and keeping an emergency supply kit.

 

Creating a Plan

 

 

The first step in preparing for an emergency is creating a plan. Work with your friends, family, and neighbors to develop a plan that will fit your needs.

  • Choose a contact person who will check on you during a disaster, and decide how you will communicate with each other (for instance, by telephone, knocking on doors). Consider speaking with your neighbors about developing a check-in system together.

  • Create a list of contact information for family members and friends. Leave a copy by your phone(s) and include one in your Emergency Supply Kit.

  • Plan how you will leave and where you will go during an evacuation. If you are living in a retirement or assisted living community, learn what procedures are in place in case of emergencies. Keep a copy of exit routes and meeting places in an easy-to-reach place.

  • Create a care plan and keep a copy in your Emergency Supply Kit. Try out CDC’s easy-to-use care plan template.

  • If you have medical, transportation, or other access needs during an emergency, consider signing up for SMART911, Code Red, or your local county registry, depending upon which service your area uses to helps first responders identify people who may need assistance right away.

Creating an Emergency Supply Kit
 

After an emergency, you may not have access to clean water or electricity. Make sure you are prepared with your own supply of food, water, and other items to last for at least 72 hours.

  • Visit Ready.gov for a list of basic items to gather for your Disaster Supply Kit.

  • Medical-Related Items:

    • A 3-day supply of medicine, at a minimum. If medications need to be kept cold, have a cooler and ice packs available.

    • ID band (full name, contact number for family member/caregiver, and allergies)

    • Hearing aids and extra batteries

    • Glasses and/or contacts and contact solution

    • Medical supplies like syringes or extra batteries

    • Information about medical devices such as wheelchairs, walkers, and oxygen including model numbers and vender.

  • Documents (Keep physical copies i

     

    n a waterproof bag and take photos of each document for backup):

    • Your Care Plan

    • Contact information for family members, doctors, pharmacies and/or caregivers

    • List of all medications, including the exact name of the medicine and the dosage, and contact information for pharmacy and doctor who prescribed medicine

    • List of allergies to food or medicines

    • Copies of medical insurance cards

    • Copies of a photo ID

    • Durable power of attorney and/or medical power of attorney documents, as appropriate.

  • Get Your Benefits Electronically

    • Sometimes, a disaster can stop mail service for a few days or even weeks. If you receive your Social Security or other benefits through the mail, you can easily switch to electronic payments to protect yourself before disaster strikes.

It’s much easier to plan ahead and not have to use these plans, than it is to be faced with an emergency and not know what to do. Haven Healthcare has its own emergency plan and we are here to help you be prepared! For more information and tools to start planning ahead, please visit https://www.cdc.gov/aging/emergency/preparedness.htm or https://www.redcross.org/get-help/how-to-prepare-for-emergencies/seniors.html

 

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