Emergency Planning for Seniors – Playing it Safe

“Save one life you’re a hero. Save 100 lives you’re a Nurse”

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All over the world we are dealing with disasters or other dangerous events that may affect our seniors. Events such as hurricanes, flooding, earthquakes or other are real threats for our senior population. VIP America can help you plan for the possibility of severe weather to help keep you safe.

Emergency Kits

An emergency kit should include the minimum supplies in the event of a hurricane or other threat. Bottle water, nonperishable food, batteries, flashlight, radio and first aid supplies.  First aid supplies should include but are not limited to, band aids, antibiotic ointment, peroxide, rubbing alcohol, medication list with allergies, pain reliever such as Advil or Tylenol, burn ointment, cough medicine, nasal spray, bandages, adhesive tape and scissors.  I found that eMedicine Health is a good resource, listing various types of Emergency Kits based on your situation.  Example; should you have enough for 3 days or a different kit that may require pillows and blankets.  Check out eMedicine for more information.

Personal Supplies

A list of personal supplies to insure you are comfortable and clean may include; sanitary napkins, pull ups or other product that you may use for incontinence.  A special soap, powder, ointment, cleansing or wet wipes, shampoo, conditioner, razor, change of undergarments etc. Perhaps you may have a catheter or ostomy, you will want to gather those supplies to insure your comfort. The best practice is to have these items ready to go in a carry bag in the event of an emergency.

Visual and Hearing Aids

It is important to keep an extra pair of glasses in your emergency kit along with batteries for your hearing aids. If you have a case for your glasses or hearing aids, place in your bedside drawer so you know where they are if there is an emergency.  During a hurricane or other emergency, it is possible that items in the home may have been disrupted or moved during a storm.  If you have a cell phone, make sure it is completely charged before a storm hits.  You can then shut your phone off to preserve the battery life.  Just remember to turn it on periodically in the event someone is trying to reach you.  It is also important to keep an extra cane or walker next to the bed, even attach a whistle or bell to it for extra communication if needed.  The sound of the whistle or bell is an indicator that you are close and may need help.  If you have an emergency alert system, please make sure it is always with you. 

Legal Documents

It is important to have a personal support network in place.  Make sure that the people you have chosen either have a copy or know the whereabouts of your documents.  A list of documents may include; drivers license or other photo ID, social security card, healthcare proxy and other power of attorney, advanced directive information, insurance cards, medication list, allergies, pharmacy and contact, any metal or other in your body such as a pace maker, Birth Certificates, rental information such as landlord’s name and contact or deed to home.  You should also have a list of family, friends’ names, numbers, and place to meet in an emergency.

Have a personal support network

Everyone should have a personal support network especially in the event of an emergency.  It is important to have your plan in place prior to an emergency so everyone is aware of what to do in an emergency. Your support network should be instructed to check on you immediately after an emergency.  It is important to have your medication list and healthcare directives out where they can be found immediately, example; the refrigerator.  A family or friend should have important keys, such as your house key. Your emergency kit should also be handy, and its location known. Have a plan of command who will do what and in what order. Always notify each other if leaving the country or going away so your network knows that you are ok. I enjoyed reading the article on Disaster Preparedness for Seniors by Seniors What a great way to hear about their experience and what they did!

Emergency Planning with Care providers

If you are receiving any type of in-home care services, have a plan in place such as a hurricane plan with your in-home care provider so they can update your file and know how to proceed in the event of an emergency.  Your caregiver can help in creating a comprehensive emergency plan and disaster supplies kit.  Planning is crucial for ensuring you and your family are well prepared for potentially dangerous situations. Not only do these things help you practically and logistically, but they also help you feel more confident and therefore calmer. VIP America Home Health Referrals can assist you with private home care and to create an emergency plan with you so you are prepared for an emergency or evacuation. VIP is a family owned and operated company that knows the value of time spent with each of our clients and its importance as we value our clients as family.