Never Too Soon For Seniors To Prepare For Hurricanes
By Rosemary Laird, MD // July 7, 2013
AWARENESS OF UNIQUE SENIOR CHALLENGES IS KEY
ABOVE VIDEO: Liberty Mutual Insurance Company presents basic tips on hurricane preparedness to help keep your family, possessions and property safe.
BREVARD COUNTY • COCOA BEACH, FLORIDA — Hurricane season is upon us and is predicted to be a busy one.
It is critical for our senior population to be well prepared and aware of the unique challenges they may face. Now is a good time to develop an emergency plan if you haven’t already done so.
Plan ahead and prepare early so items you need are easy to find as the storm approaches.
MEDICAL NEEDS AND TREATMENTS
To insure your medical needs are met and treatment not disrupted:
- Be sure you have ample supply of medical equipment and supplies such as oxygen, nebulizer supplies, ostomy or incontinence supplies and dressings.
- Bring your own medical “first aid” kit and no-wash hand sanitizer/ cleanser.
- Be sure you have current immunizations including pneumococcal and tetanus. If you are unsure of status, contact your personal physician.
- Keep ample supplies of medications at all times. In an emergency it may be difficult to refill your prescriptions. Discuss with your physicians the possibility of an extra paper prescription so if you are out of the area with phones and Internet interruption, you can still get necessary medications.
- Make plans for the special care of your medication (insulin in cool container).
- Bring information on your medical conditions and current treatments.
EVACUATION AND TRANSPORTATION
Learn about your community’s emergency plans and plan your escape route. If you can safely stay with family or friends, do so.
Be sure your automobile is in good working condition and up to date on maintenance, and maintain a full tank of gas.
Know the location of the nearest evacuation shelter that can accommodate your needs (medical/safety/personal pets). Register with the Brevard County Emergency Management at (321) 637-4077, and be prepared to move quickly keeping the following tips in mind:
- Learn exactly what supplies you will need to provide, and identify how you will move medical and comfort supplies to the evacuation facility.
- Consider air cushions that will fit the beds at the facility or an air mattress with a frame. You may be sitting for extended periods of time, so consider bringing a chair pad that will minimize pressure to your skin and provide additional comfort. Be sure to pack adequate sheets, blankets and small pillows.
- Obtain and bring the necessary items to insure your safety including flash-lights or strip lights, battery operated radio and clock, cellular phone, sturdy comfortable footwear to prevent falls.
- Bring personal hygiene items and comfortable clothing for at least three days. Also bring water and towels for bathing.
- Bring insurance policy information such as home and automobile; a list of emergency contacts such as family member, friends, and doctors; and legal documents such as deeds, Durable Power of Attorney, Living Will, and Health Care Surrogate.
- Share your disaster plans with a relative or friend outside the area. Call them after the disaster and let them know that you are all right and where you will stay if your home is damaged. You may want this person to be designated for other family members to contact that may be in the area as well.
- Notify the power company if you are dependent on electricity for medical equipment (such as oxygen concentration) to be sure power is available on your return to your home.
YOUR DISASTER CHECKLIST
- 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 shelter.
- Find the safe places in your home for each type of emergency.
- Have a plan to signal the need for help.
- Place 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.
YOUR DISASTER CONTACTS
- Brevard County Emergency Management: 321-637-4077 www.embrevard.com
- The American Red Cross: 321-890-1002 www.redcross.org
ABOUTH THE AUTHOR
Dr. Rosemary Laird, the American Geriatric Society’s 2013 Geriatric Clinician of the Year, is the founding Medical Director of the Health First Aging Institute. The Aging Institute sponsors clinics for geriatric consultation, memory loss, and primary care, and provides support for caregivers. Dr. Laird received her medical degree from Georgetown University School of Medicine, residency training in Internal Medicine at the University of Chicago, and a Geriatric Fellowship at the University of Kansas. You may contact Dr. Laird at 321-727-9764 or log on to www.eldercare.health-first.org