Community Blog

7 Recommendations for Senior Safety and Hurricane Preparedness

By Debbie Humphrey

June 1st marks the beginning of hurricane season each year, and with all the rain and storms we’ve been experiencing on the Gulf coast, it has actually served as a reminder to take proper measures to be prepared in the event this natural disaster occurs in our area.

I, personally, want to make sure senior hurricane preparedness is addressed, because, depending upon their abilities, seniors can experience many more serious challenges in emergency situations. Remember the old adage, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” By being proactive and taking precautionary measures, it can greatly reduce anxiety and distress in the unfortunate event of a hurricane, tropical storm, and other natural or man-made catastrophe.

It is vital to have a support system including family, friends, neighbors, caregivers, anyone that can assist in emergencies and evacuations. They should be aware of the senior’s physical and mental limitations and be ready, willing and able to help if/when the time comes.

A physical list of emergency phone numbers for family, friends, neighbors, and caregivers in the support system, as well as contact info for a loved one outside of the disaster area, is highly recommended. This list should be kept in a purse, wallet or waterproof bag, because it will prove very important if there are electrical and cell tower outages. If a nasty storm affects a large area, it could be an extended period of time before utilities and phone service is restored. If a hurricane is in the forecast, make sure cell phones are fully charged, along with a replacement battery that is also fully charged.

Prepare a “Go Bag” just in case. It should contain at least one change of clothes including undergarments; personal hygiene items, like a toothbrush, toothpaste, denture care kit, hand sanitizer, you get the idea.

It is a great idea to have an emergency supply of prescription meds, pain relievers, incontinence pads/briefs, and catheters, anything a senior may need if evacuated to a shelter.

Put together an “in-case-of-emergency case.” Include a gallon of water/person to last at least three days, and more for use in personal hygiene and around the home; a supply of food that can be consumed without cooking (canned, dried); a manual can opener; eating utensils; personal hygiene items, i.e. toilet paper, incontinence pads/briefs; medical devices, like catheters, diabetes test strips, hearing aid batteries, etc; flashlights with extra batteries and bulbs; a battery-operated radio or TV with plenty of extra batteries; a blanket; a deck of cards or puzzle books for entertainment; maybe, a multi-purpose tool, like a Swiss army knife. Remember: candles are not recommended, if there is the possibility of natural gas leak!

Keep all vital documents and records in a safe place, whether it’s a fireproof locked box or a safety deposit box. These would include the senior’s birth certificate, social security card, deed, will, living will, and financial papers, among others.

When the threat of a tropical storm or hurricane is reported, a senior’s local fire department or law enforcement agency should be notified, especially if the senior has special needs that could require an emergency response team.

I hate the idea of seniors being alone and in need during a severe storm. Please consider these recommendations and implement them with the special seniors in your life. If they are unable to connect with family, friends or neighbors, contact me. I am happy to find the perfect, compassionate caregiver to help keep seniors safe and hurricane prepared!

Home Helpers® proudly serves male and female seniors in Clearwater, Dunedin, Palm Harbor, Safety Harbor, Tarpon Springs, Holiday, New Port Richey, Trinity, Port Richey, Hudson and surrounding areas. Contact us today to learn more about the many services offered through Home Helpers® We are Making Life Easier℠ 727.972.2539