Emergency Preparedness for Seniors
Bayley Publication 2-October 16, 2018
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How can seniors prepare for inevitable natural disasters or even manmade catastrophes, such as household fires and hazardous materials leaks and spills? What about a simple power outage?
Through ready.gov, the Department of Homeland Security encourages Americans to know the risks of likely hazardous weather and other conditions where they live, to be informed about emergency alerts, and to plan and practice for emergencies requiring either evacuation or sheltering in place.
This undertaking can be especially onerous for seniors, who likely rely on others for many of their dietary, medical and physical needs.
AARP recommends family and caretakers of the elderly be prepared as well. If conditions warrant leaving home, they should consider who has keys to the older adult’s house, his or her transportation needs and possible out-of-town shelters.
Top tips and emergency kits
Keep important documents – like living wills and medical power of attorney – in a safe place, such as a waterproof and fireproof box or safe, and share copies with trusted relatives or friends.
Set up electronic payments for Social Security and/or other benefits in case mail delivery is disrupted.
Consider having two emergency kits – one to stay in place and a smaller version in a waterproof, portable container – and stored in a cool, dry place.
o Copies of insurance policies, identification and bank account records
o Insurance policy numbers and claims filing instructions
o Medical and dental insurance information, prescriptions, doctors and specialists’ contact information
o Medical alert tags or bracelets, an extra pair of glasses and extra hearing-aid batteries
o At least a week’s supply of prescriptions, along with other non-prescription medications
o Water (one gallon per person, per day) and food for three days
o Flashlight and extra batteries
o First aid kit
o Moist towelettes, garbage bags and plastic ties for personal sanitation
o Cell phone with chargers and a backup battery
o Personal hygiene items
o Family and friends’ names and contact information
Monitor television and/or radio news reports for information or instructions and do as told.
Even a power outage can cause unnecessary headaches. A power-failure light can serve as a nightlight and as a portable flashlight, and is much safer than a candle. Keep the right-sized batteries on hand for a radio and weather radio. No electricity can mean no heat or air conditioning, so consider where to take your loved one if power restoration is delayed.