Preparedness blog

Elderly Emergency Preparedness

By Marc from Ready Store
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Often times the elderly and people with certain disabilities face special issues when preparing for a disaster. There is a number of public and quasi-public entities devoted to emergency preparedness for those with special needs. These panels are charged with advising on public policies involving special needs populations, fostering understanding between the special needs community and the community at large and providing support and resources for those with special needs. Local commissions on disabilities continue to work with emergency management experts on issues relating to disaster preparedness for special needs citizens.

Basic Preparedness Tips
  • If you have physical limitations, build a personal support network of people who will check on you following an emergency.
  • Try to maintain a three-day supply of your prescription medication. If you use oxygen, keep an emergency supply to last at least three days.
  • Talk with your medical supply company about a backup power source if you use medical equipment requiring electrical power.
  • If you use battery-powered or electronic mobility equipment, keep a manual wheelchair, canes, crutches and walkers as backups for use in an emergency.
  • If you have a personal health aide, he or she may not be able to help you after a disaster. Talk with your
    aide now about whether his or her agency has a plan for providing client services in an emergency.
  • Keep a whistle handy in case you need to signal for help.
Disaster Preparedness Booklet

The American Red Cross has produced a comprehensive guide to disaster preparedness for people with special needs, including the elderly. You can view this booklet here.

In addition to the tips above, it's important to store "Shelter In Place" emergency supplies and food in the case that you wouldn't have help during or after a disaster.  You should keep:

There also may be cases where you will need to evacuate the area.  It is essential that you have a fully-stocked Survival-Kit ready for a "Grab-N-Go" emergency.

These are just a few items to consider, but probably the most important thing is that the more you are able to be self-reliant, the more you are likely to thrive during an emergency situation.

14 years ago
Northwoods Cheryl
8 years ago at 5:36 AM
I am a nurse in a Physical therapy rehab/long term care facility. Right now, I am thanking the Lord we were bought out by a Mormon company. (I am not Mormon) They are the authority on prepping as far as I am concerned. They LIVE preparedness. Our Administrator has begun buying up long term storage foods for the facility. He's had a few "taste testings" to see what the residents liked most. What company does THAT?? God bless him! He's thinking ahead for the people he serves. That's what this country needs.. people who think ahead about the well being of others. They are in good hands there.
8 years ago at 8:33 AM
Wow Cheryl, I am so impressed! My mother was in a memory care facility when there was an ice storm and I have never seen such lack of common sense! They were passing out thin cotton blankets which didn't even keep them warm, had sandwiches for every meal, and a small staff because no one could get there. She was only a mile from me so I brought her to the house. What a blessing, I would love to hear what they have done at some later time. (I'm a nurse)
Northwoods Cheryl
8 years ago at 5:42 AM
Yes, me again.. I would like to add that even in warmer weather, seniors are often cold. Several lightweight blankets that could be used for layering to keep warm may be helpful if sheltering in place. Also extra hygiene products such as Depends. Plastic bags to use to dispose of them in, such as used bags from shopping. A decent bottled water supply, and "baby wipes" to use as makeshift washing products, instead of using the critical water supply meant for food prep and drinking.
Gregg Haege
3 years ago at 10:35 AM
Advising folks to have 3-days of anything for their support is woefully out of date, impractical, and sets people up for hardship. Three days is nothing when services (e.g., water, power, medical offices) are not there. To have at least 3-4 weeks of support on hand, including medications, food, water, heat, light, and battery or alternative power for people with CPAPs or other medical appliances, etc. allows a disaster to develop and hopefully moderate/resolve to some extent that will allow them, in turn, to seek help in a somewhat safer environment.