May is Older Americans Month. Older adults are an important part of our communities and lives. Take this opportunity to get up to date on some ways to make sure the older Americans in your life are well prepared for all unexpected emergencies.
- Stay Informed: Stay informed about the types of emergencies that are common for the region in order to properly prepare.
- Get Prepared: Build a basic emergency kit. Read about what to keep in your kit.
- Anticipate the Unexpected: Make sure there is a supply of prescription medications set aside for emergencies. Keep extra batteries for CPAP machines, wheelchairs, and any other medical equipment that needs batteries, in your emergency kit as well as extra hearing aids and eyeglasses. It is also a good idea to have copies of medical insurance/Medicare/Medicaid cards on hand.
- Create an Evacuation Plan: Take disabilities into account and map out an evacuation plan that suits the older adult’s needs.
- Keep Connected: Older adults tend to be disconnected from social media and other forms of media that deliver information. Be sure older Americans have an outlet to acquire up-to-date information about possible emergencies. Make sure they have a reliable way to contact help.
Each person’s needs are unique so it’s important to understand what additional preparedness steps need to be taken in order to create a plan that meets all of the needs of the older adults in your life. More information on preparing older adults.
Historically evacuation plans did not adequately account for elderly people/people with disabilities. Hurricane Katrina exposed major flaws when it came to caring for older disabled adults and getting them out of the area safely. The mistakes of the past provided a wake-up call to create more inclusive emergency planning. Emergency planning officials have worked together to identify and resolve many of the issues that led to disaster after Hurricane Katrina.
Being prepared means planning ahead. Prepare for the unexpected and create an emergency plan for your older loved ones.