Hurricane season is quickly approaching. Even if the elderly in your life don’t live on the coast, the heavy rains and severe storms pose a potential safety threat.
Careful planning ahead and a little organization help ensure that your loved one will be safe and ready.
Here are five practical tips to make sure you’re prepared well before a storm is on the way.
1. Get organized
Make sure you have copies of all relevant emergency contacts and medical documents in one folder. This includes detailed medication lists and an up-to-date medical history describing allergies and other health concerns.
2. Stock up
The Red Cross recommends keeping a two-week supply of water (1 gallon per person per day) and nonperishable food items in the house. Flashlights, extra batteries and a hand-crank radio are also essential. Don’t forget to stock up on prescription medication too. Keep at least one extra week’s worth of medication and medical supplies on hand.
3. Establish a personal support network
If your loved one lives alone, make sure they have a well-established network of local family, friends or neighbors. Make sure these individuals can help prepare the home ahead of time and check in during or after a storm. Exchange sets of keys, show others where emergency supplies and medical information are located and agree on ways to maintain contact in case phone lines are down.
4. Make a plan
Even if you’re organized and have a stock of supplies, it’s also important to have a well-established plan in place before a storm hits. Sit down with your loved one and talk about your emergency plan.
Make sure you have a strategy for how you’ll reunite if there is an evacuation and how you’ll contact each other if there is no phone service. Ensure you have a place your loved one can stay that’s comfortable and adequate to his or her needs.
5. Know when to evacuate
Pay attention to the local news. Leaving early means beating the rush and spending less time on the road. Pack bags ahead of time with all necessary items for a few days away.
For more tips and checklists to ensure that your loved one’s needs will be met in an emergency, go to the Red Cross’s webpage on emergency preparedness for seniors.