Getting the elderly hurricane-ready

June is home safety month in the United States, but it’s also the start of the hurricane season, which bears particular significance to those in parts of our country who’ve been pummeled by hurricanes within the last couple of years. The elderly are especially vulnerable in the wake of a mega-storm. When you are older, you may experience decreased awareness, increased anxiety, health issues and you may have limited mobility issues. To help offset any feelings of dread or concern, one of the best things a family caregiver can do is help your elderly loved one get prepared and have a clearly defined action plan, should a hurricane approach and lead to evacuation. If possible, seniors should find shelter with a family or trusted caregiver. If your loved one is in a nursing home or adult living facility, make sure you understand the hurricane protocol well in advance of a storm.

First, prepare an emergency kit that’s stored in a grab-n-go watertight container. Such a kit could include:

  • Incontinence undergarments, wipes, and lotions
  • Healthy non-perishable snacks and high-nutrient drinks
  • One gallon of water per day, as well as electrolyte beverages, to help prevent dehydration.
  • Physician’s name, address, and phone number
  • Copies of legal, medical, insurance, and Social Security information sealed in waterproof bags, this includes Medicaid/Medicare cards
  • Waterproof bags or containers to hold OTC and prescription medications and copies of prescriptions that can be refilled for up to a few months
  • Medical alert bracelets or tags with info about healthcare needs
  • An emergency contact list with pertinent family and friends
  • Extra cash
  • Battery powered radio or NOAA weather radio
  • Solar or battery-operated flashlight
  • Cell phone charger and extended battery backup
  • Blankets, dry socks, extra clothing and sturdy, comfortable shoes
  • Spare eyeglasses, hearing-aid batteries, catheters, oxygen systems, etc.
  • Flashlights and extra batteries
  • Basic first aid kit