June 1st marks the start of Florida hurricane season and a vital planning time for those who live in vulnerable areas. Our focus during this time is on planning for our care management clients and educating family caregivers about the importance of making realistic plans to minimize risk for elders and those with special needs.
If you live in a different area, you can apply much of this information to general disaster planning for an aging loved one. Our checklists and tips may apply to those facing issues such as potential flooding, winter storms and other natural disasters. While some disasters provide less warning, it is important to review emergency plans and make provisions for emergency supplies. Hopefully some of our tips and ideas will also help you to consider your loved one’s potential vulnerabilities in various types of emergencies and consider this as well in an overall home safety evaluation.
Click here for some important insider tips that you may not have considered when planning for an elderly or disabled loved one. Basics for building your senior disaster plan:
• Every household needs to prepare by purchasing supplies and preparing an emergency kit in case of even minor storms (power outages are common even with tropical storms and lesser storms that arrive during summer season).
• Prepare an evacuation kit as well, with important contact #s, basic medical history and medication list, insurance information, necessary medications, medical supplies and equipment, clothing and other needed items. Plan to evacuate early to avoid heavy traffic and get out safely well in advance of the storm. Consider the safety and special needs of elderly persons in options for evacuation.
• Individuals with special needs should register with the county emergency services, in case they need assistance. Do not use emergency services or special needs shelters as your primary hurricane plan, but as a backup option only.
• Be realistic about the ability to manage at home alone during and after a storm. Aging Wisely uses a special assessment to gauge a client’s ability to self-preserve at home, which is also influenced by the expected level of storm impact. This helps paint a picture of the situation, which may also be useful in convincing an elder that he or she should consider alternative arrangements.
• Remember the aftermath of the storm is a vulnerable time for those with special needs. Electricity and water may not be available for weeks. All but the most basic services may be unavailable. Supplies such as ice and water may be difficult to reach. Stores and infrastructure may be limited for weeks to months. Imagine your loved one in this situation and not only how unpleasant the situation may be, but how potentially life threatening.
• Contact eldercare providers as part of your elderly hurricane planning. For example, our sister company, EasyLiving, Inc. home care, provides assistance with shopping for hurricane supplies and preparing an emergency kit. An Aging Wisely care manager can be hired to complete an assessment and create a care plan for your elderly loved one. Local assisted living facilities and nursing homes may serve as receiving facilities for those needing a safer place to stay during approaching storms, but arrangements should be made in advance for the necessary admissions procedures.
Contact Aging Wisely for assistance or questions about Florida senior hurricane preparedness and all of your eldercare concerns.
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