When a storm as powerful as Sandy slams into the coast, senior citizens can’t always get themselves to higher ground or shelter for safety. They may not even be able to evacuate when instructed to do so. How do they escape the rising tide?
Many seniors may not be physically able to go to the hardware or grocery store for needed food and supplies since most forms of transportation are shut down. Tens of thousands of customers have no electricity, heat, or water following a storm such as Hurricane Sandy. This can be devastating to a senior who may require electricity for medical equipment or water for taking medications. Wheelchair bound residents who live in multiple-story buildings become stranded with no elevator access and no way out. Seniors are vulnerable as it is, so going without food and nutrition can actually be deadly to them.
Luckily most senior facilities have an emergency plan in place and are prepared to deal with evacuations and storms. What about those loved ones who live alone? Is there a plan for them to follow? It’s unfortunate that it takes an event such as Hurricane Sandy to make us aware that a plan needs to be in place. But it is not too late because you never know when the next crisis or catastrophic event will happen.
Here are some simple tips you can use to help your senior loved one ‘weather the storm’:
Stock the pantry with non-perishable food items such as dried powder milk, peanut butter, canned or dried vegetables and fruit, potato flakes, beans, rice, and plenty of bottled water. Be sure there is always a week’s worth of extra medication, using the oldest first so a fresh supply is on hand at all times. Have a flashlight with fresh batteries available and some candles with matches in case electricity is lost. It’s a good idea to have a first aid kit for scratches or wounds. A contact list with names and phone numbers should be easy to get to so your loved one can check in. It’s also a good idea to list the Red Cross phone number along with their doctor. In today’s world of modern technology, a cellular phone is an excellent item to have since home phone service may be interrupted. Having an extra fully-charged cell phone battery would be ideal as they don’t last very long. Some cell phones, such as Smart phones, will allow for access to local news and media along with access to emergency services.
If your senior loved one lives long-distance, put a plan in place for a local friend, neighbor, or family member to immediately check on them in an emergency situation. They should also inform local authorities that this person lives alone and may be in need of assistance. Communication is key in any crisis.
It’s never too late to prepare.