Disasters are extremely difficult times for everyone, but the elderly and disabled have an especially difficult time preparing and coping with disasters. Planning and supplies that may be efficient for some can be cumbersome for the elderly–especially those lacking strong support networks like family and friends to assist in planning and preparation. In addition to the benefit of having assistance in preparing for a disaster, there are some key items that the elderly should have on hand in anticipation of a disaster. These items range from essentials like food and water to medication and communication devices. Here are a few important items and considerations for the elderly in preparation for a disaster or emergency situation.
First Aid Kits & Medication
Items like first aid kits and essential medication are extremely important to personal well-being. Make sure that these items are readily accessible in an emergency. This is of particular importance for individuals with limited mobility. First aid kits are an essential disaster preparation item for everyone, but the elderly should always have a kit on hand to address any minor injuries. Any prescribed medication should be conveniently located for easy access.
Cell Phone & Emergency Contact Plan
Having a cell phone on hand may seem so obvious that it merits no mention in a preparation list, but many elderly individuals lack a mobile device. This can be problematic in the event of a power outage where a land line telephone is rendered useless. Having a cell phone will ensure that contact can be made with loved ones and emergency services. Make sure that the mobile phone is fully charged and a charger is available. You may even want to consider a solar charger for the phone in the event of a prolonged power outage. In addition to cell phones, have an emergency contact plan in place to ensure that help is available immediately. This can include speed dials and communication plans among family and friends to check up on an elderly individual in the event of a disaster situation.
Food, Water, Blankets, Flashlights
The same preparatory items that everyone should have on hand in preparation for an emergency apply to the elderly. Keep supplies of food and water in the event of a utility outage. Canned and dehydrated food items are good to have in the event that a stove, microwave, or oven cannot be used. Be sure to also have plenty of bottled water on hand – at least a 48 hour supply. Blankets, bedding, flashlights, and batteries are also all important items to have on hand in preparation for a disaster. For the elderly and individuals with disabilities or limited mobility, these items should be stored in a convenient, easy to access place for fast retrieval in an emergency.