Severe weather can strike at any time, during any season. In the case of a hurricane, tornado, or another natural disaster, caregivers should prepare seniors with a plan of action. Home care services can assist seniors in getting ready for these disasters and staying safe in the process. Let’s look at three quick tips to implement today.
As severe weather approaches, the need to evacuate or seek shelter may occur quickly, leaving little to no time to prepare. In case this happens, having a plan helps remedy the seemingly stressful situation. Seniors can face challenges due to mobility or health problems, as well as lack of support nearby. Putting these tips in place can make navigating the logistics of a natural disaster less stressful and ultimately be lifesaving.
1. Create an Emergency Supply Kit
An emergency supply kit will contain all of the essentials needed when disaster strikes. The kit will help keep seniors safe and ensure they get the assistance they need.
Food and Water
Food and water can be hard to access after severe weather has passed through. In preparation, store enough food and water in the kit to support seniors for up to 72 hours. Food should be non-perishable and easy to prepare (e.g. beans, canned fruit, canned meat), as electricity may not be available.
Include at least a 3-day supply of all daily medications. If your senior has allergies, make sure their ID bracelet is present with emergency contact information listed. Keep information on everyday equipment, such as wheelchairs and oxygen tanks, and include the serial numbers and company information. Other essentials include hearing aids, glasses and contact lenses/solution, and medical supplies, such as syringes and diabetic supplies.
When it comes to severe weather preparation, store all important documents in a waterproof bag.
- Include an up to date care plan for caregivers and seniors to follow for severe weather preparation.
- Write out emergency contact information, including family, caregivers and agencies, physician(s), and a local pharmacy.
- Make sure a photo ID and insurance card are copied and added to the kit.
- List all allergies to food and medicines in case someone else who is less familiar with the senior’s regime is present during the emergency.
- List all current medications with instructions on dosage, when to take it, the prescribing doctor, and the pharmacy name.
- Include a copy of Power of Attorney and Do Not Resituate (if appropriate).
Other supplies to include in the kit are flashlights, AM Radio, cell phone charger, and various battery types used to power radios, flashlights, hearing aids, etc.
2. Create a Plan
Seniors should have a few people (friends, family, professional caregiver(s), etc.) designated to help when disaster strikes. Identify one as the primary emergency contact; this person will take the lead if mandatory evacuation or taking shelter is needed. Take practical steps to develop a plan before hurricane season hits this summer.
- Write out a contact list of important phone numbers and make a copy for everyone involved. If you followed the first tip, you should already have this added to your emergency supply kit.
- Locate the nearest shelter and plan out how to transport your senior there.
- Know the policies and procedures for any place your senior may go for medical treatments during a natural disaster.
- The Center for Disease Control (CDC) offers two helpful templates for documents and registries:
- A care plan template should be filled out beforehand and stored in the emergency supply kit.
- If a senior needs medical transportation for an emergency during the disaster, the CDC has a registry for seniors so first responders know where to head first.
3. Home Preparation
Preparing a senior’s home before an emergency helps remedy some of the anxiety around the disaster.
- Check smoke and carbon monoxide detectors regularly by testing them weekly.
- Make sure fire extinguishers are in the house and easily accessible.
- Bleach should be available in case water needs to be sanitized in the case of an emergency.
- Leave instructions for where the gas and electric shut off valves are in the house.
- Stock plenty of blankets in case the power goes out during a winter storm or power outage.
How Can Senior Home Care Help?
A professional, trained caregiver is critical to the health and well-being of seniors throughout the year. Severe weather and disaster preparation can seem overwhelming to the senior population. In home care can assist seniors in the planning process and executing in emergencies.
Senior care support can also aid in services such as meal preparation, medication monitoring, and companionship. The home care services provided by a professional caregiver ensure your loved is safe and sound daily and in the event of a natural disaster.
For more information on how Commonwise Home Care can help with senior care services, call 434.202.8565.
Disclaimer: Please check with your physician before making any changes to your diet, exercise, or medication routine.