Help for the Elderly in Florida-Preparing and Managing During Natural Disasters
It is that time of year again…hurricane season in Florida. Realistic disaster planning is especially important to the elder, and sometimes frail, clients we serve.
We are currently of working with clients and families on hurricane season planning, with a procedure we have honed over the years to minimize risk for vulnerable individuals. During this initial phase, we work together with clients to make an initial plan, gather supplies and discuss alternatives if a storm approaches. Our expertise on this process has been sought out by various professional colleagues/groups.
Special needs shelters have limited capacity and are not designed to meet the needs of many frail elders (shelters do not have hospital beds and only limited cots, cannot provide special diets or handle acute medical issues, for example). This SHOULD NOT be any client’s PLAN. We recommend (and help) clients make alternative arrangements, such as staying with friends or family or a reservation at a hurricane-receiving assisted living or nursing facility (paperwork from the doctor is required and advance reservations are wise as facilities will get many requests as a storm approaches).
Before any storm is predicted, we move in to phase two of planning for our clients: storm-specific preparation. At this time, we work with families to look at current conditions so they can make up-to-date decisions and put plans in to place well in advance of a storm watch, while help is still available.
To learn more about special needs planning, from how and where to evacuate to preparing the home, making a survival kit and more, grab our Special Needs Checklist.
To further benefit seniors in our local community, we have developed a Hurricane Preparedness Package. We offer this stand-alone service for individuals who do not have ongoing care management services, but could benefit from assistance with hurricane planning.
It is vital to recognize the seriousness of natural disasters for elders who live alone, individuals with chronic conditions or disabilities or those who rely on outside assistance. Elders cannot rely on caregivers or other services being available during emergencies and even the 911/emergency services shut down during high winds and dangerous weather. Seniors who wait until the last minute or do not take precautions may be stranded without help, not only during the storm but in the aftermath.