How Families Can Help Older Loved Ones Prepare for Emergencies
In the event of a natural disaster like a tornado, hurricane, or wildfire, it’s important to be prepared. Seniors have specific emergency preparedness needs, and here’s how to make sure your elderly loved one stays safe.
Create an emergency response plan for seniors
The Center for Disease Control (CDC) outlines some of the most common issues that work against older adults in emergency scenarios, such as:
- Support services and in-home health care being unavailable for a period of time.
- Challenges related to age, such as hearing loss, vision problems, and cognitive impairments, all of which make it more difficult to understand and respond to emergencies.
- Mobility problems or chronic health conditions, which limit how quickly and easily seniors can evacuate and seek shelter.
These problems highlight why having a plan should be the first step in preparing your aging loved one for an emergency. To create a plan, keep the following considerations in mind:
- Designate a contact person to check on the senior during an emergency. This person could be a neighbor, friend, or a nearby loved one. Decide how that person will check-in, too.
- Write down a list of contact information for family, friends, doctors, and other members of your support team and social circle. Distribute copies to anyone who needs them and keep a copy in an emergency kit.
- Write down your loved one’s care needs, medical conditions, and medication details. You can download a Complete Care Plan template from the CDC here.
- If your loved one lives in a senior care community, learn about emergency procedures and discuss them together. Every community should have an emergency response plan they can share.
As you create a senior-specific emergency response plan, take detailed notes and write everything down. If disaster strikes, you’ll know exactly how to proceed.
Make an emergency supply kit
An emergency supply kit should contain all of the documents, food and water, medications, and medical items your loved one needs to stay healthy and safe. Here are some examples of items to include:
- 3-day supply of required medicines and medical supplies
- 3-day supply of water and non-perishable food
- ID band with contact information, allergies, and other important details
- Extra batteries for medical devices
- Information about medical devices (for example, include the model numbers and vendors of wheelchairs, oxygen tanks, and other devices)
- Chargers for cell phones and other communication devices
- Important documents, sealed and stored in a waterproof bag
The documents in your kit should include everything mentioned in the emergency response plan section above, plus copies of:
- Health insurance documents
- Photo ID
- Power of attorney documents, if applicable
Every emergency kit is different and you may want to include additional supplies in your loved one’s kit. For more information on making an emergency kit, review Ready.gov’s suggestions.
As a local nonprofit, The Argyle has brought high quality and affordable care to Denver’s seniors since 1874. To this day, our caring team remains committed to encouraging independence and preserving the dignity of every resident who calls our community home.