Hurricane Checklist: Seniors Be Ready
As hurricane season continues and the tropics are busier and busier with storms threatening the U.S. mainland, millions of people prepare for winds, heavy rainfall, flooding, and possible power outages. Ensuring proper preparation will keep your and your aging parent safe and ensure you have peace of mind. Below are 10 tips you should take to ensure you and your senior parent or loved one stays safe:
1. Create a list of resources: Find pencil and paper to write a list of resources and contact information. Write down all friends and family, primary care physician, pharmacist, and local disaster relief numbers.
2. Make sure someone is checking in: Call your mom and dad’s neighbors to ensure they plan on staying close by to check in. If you don’t live close to your aging parent, there is nothing more stressful than not being able to call or visit. Ask if their neighbor will check in with your parents at least once per day and then let your parents know to expect a visit.
3. Collect & Protect Documents: Preparing for a hurricane or storm should take place months ahead. In case of flooding, make sure copies of deeds, personal identification, insurance policies, social security cards, & birth certificates should be in one place, ideally in a sealed plastic bag. If you want to go the extra mile, make electronic copies of each and add the documents to a USB drive and place the USB file in a safety deposit box.
4. Relocate the car in case of evacuation: Park your car at higher ground and fill the gas tank. If your car is parked underneath a tree in your driveway or at the bottom of a hill, expect the worst case scenario that the tree will fall and the lower ground will flood or be too high for you to enter the car. Park your car in a safe place that is on higher ground and free of overhanging trees.
5. Prepare to leave in an instant: Assemble a to-go kit in case of evacuation to a shelter or hospital. This kit should include a two pairs of clean clothes, an extra set of eyeglasses or contact lenses, hand sanitizer and other personal hygiene products, medications, personal documents, and travelers’ checks and/or cash.
6. Prepare for pets: Do you know where the local animal shelter is? Have you stocked up on enough food and water for their cat or dog?
7. Medication Check: Ask your doctor and pharmacist for an extra month’s supply of medication. If power and roads are not accessible, having an extra supply of medication will not only help prevent you from running out, but will is also a mental relief.
8. Prepare the home: Ensure there are at least 5 days of water and nonperishable food available. Make sure if your parent uses oxygen of a nebulizer that they have registered with the power company, but that they understand this will only prioritize when power is restored, not guarantee when of if the power comes back on. Have all loose furniture or yard items placed inside a shed or in a low traffic area of the home.
9. Know the plan: If mom or dad is at an assisted living facility or nursing home, ask for a copy of the emergency evacuation plan.
Understanding if and when relocation might take place, that proper backup generators are present, and that staff levels will be safely maintained should be top of mind.
10. Communicate : With today's technological advances, more and more seniors are learning how text, tweet, and use social media as a means of staying in contact with friends and loved ones. Continue to do so as a means to reach many people at one time versus countless phone calls.