How can I as a senior citizen plan for disasters?
Everyone shares some common ways we can prepare for disasters. Because of some physical, demographic, and other considerations, there are some special things to keep in mind for senior citizens. Here are some tips:
- Store plenty of water, at least 1 gallon per person per day, because dehydration is a serious health problem for older adults. Store at least 3 days worth. Use small containers with easily removable caps. Water in swimming pools and spas can be used for sanitation and personal hygiene.
- Have a three-day supply of nonperishable food, with consideration to your special dietary needs.
- Assemble a disaster first aid kit, being certain to include nonprescription medications that you use on an ongoing basis. Include a thorough personal medical history or invest in some sort of electronic medical history device. If possible keep an extra pair of eyeglasses, hearing aid batteries and if you are in an electric wheelchair have a manual wheelchair available or extra batteries on hand.
- Have a local personal support network.
- Have an emergency contact person (PDF) who lives in a different geographic area. Give that person a list of names, phone numbers / email addresses of people who should be contacted; or you can give your friends and family the name and phone number / email address of your contact person.
- Put your important papers in a safe place. These should include insurance policies, bank account and credit card information, Medicare and/or Medicaid cards, and living wills and powers of attorneys (PDF).
- Include in your disaster kit (PDF) some time passers such as board games, puzzles, books, paper and pens for letters and notes, envelopes and stamps, playing cards and some paperback books
Use the following checklist to get started:
- Assemble a disaster supplies kit.
- Arrange for someone to check on you.
- Plan and practice the best escape routes from your home.
- Plan for transportation if you need to evacuate to a Red Cross shelter.
- Find the safe places in your home for each type of emergency.
- Have a plan to signal the need for help.
- Post emergency phone numbers near the phone.
- If you have home health care service, plan ahead with your agency for emergency procedures.
- Teach those who may need to assist you in an emergency how to operate necessary equipment. Be sure they will be able to reach you.
Seniors with Alzheimer’s Disease have some special disaster-related needs, and this is a very helpful guide for helping them prepare and respond to disasters here.
Seniors with diabetes, bed-bound persons, and oxygen dependent persons need to assure that they have sufficient emergency supplies on-hand.