Fairfax Seniors Should Have a Disaster Plan

May 30, 2011

Between hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquakes and mass floods, we have been hearing and reading about many natural disasters lately. But it’s not over yet.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric  Administration (NOAA) has announced predictions for this year’s busy Atlantic hurricane storm season. Although we are not directly affected by hurricanes and accompanying flooding, it does make you think. Now is a good time for Fairfax families to consider their senior loved one’s emergency preparation plan.

An Emergency Plan Check ListA Disaster Plan Check List for Seniors Includes Pre-Planning

Disaster Preparation Checklist for Senior Adults:

Tune in. Contact our Fairfax Emergency Management office to learn about the most likely natural disasters to strike our area.  Stay abreast of what’s going on through the local radio or television stations.

Take stock. Decide what your senior can or can’t do in the event of a natural disaster.  Make a list of what would be needed if a disaster occurred.  For example, if your loved one is wheelchair-bound, determine an evacuation strategy ahead of time.  Or, if your homebound senior participates in programs such as home-delivered meals, determine what their emergency plan includes.  Prepare for whatever disaster could hit the area.

To go or to stay? When deciding to evacuate, older adults should go

Car Moving Senior's Belonging's During EvacuationMake Plans Now: Should a Disaster Require Emergency Evacuation of Your Loved One

sooner rather than later.  By waiting too long, they may be unable to leave if they require assistance.  And, if it’s safer for your loved one to remain in the area, confirm details such as the location of the emergency shut-off for natural gas lines and electrical power.

Make a plan. Schedule a family meeting to develop a plan of action.  Include in your plan key people – such as neighbors, friends, relatives and professional caregivers – who could help.

Meet up. Designate a place to meet relatives or key support network people outside the house, as well as a second location outside the neighborhood, such as a school or church.  Practice the plan twice a year.  Additionally, designate a phone-in location with a family member residing far from your senior’s location.

Get up and “Go Kit”. Have an easy-to-carry backpack including three days’ non-perishable food and water with an additional four days’ of food and water readily accessible at home.  Have at least one gallon of bottled water per person per day.  Refresh and replace your supplies at least twice a year.   Remember battery-operated flashlights, televisions, and radios.  Make plans that include your senior’s beloved family pets!

Pack extras and copies. Have at least a one-month supply of medication on hand at all times.  Important documents include copies of prescriptions, automobile title and driver’s license, insurance documents, passport and social security card, insurance documents, and bank account numbers.  A spare set of eyeglasses and hearing-aid batteries should be included.

If you have additional suggestions on making plans for your senior loved one in the event of an emergency or disaster, please share with our readers below or on our Caregiver Forum.

Jason Sager, Owner Home Instead Senior Care Fairfax, Virginia

We hope this was helpful. If you have any questions or if you know of a senior who could benefit from our vast array of home care services in the Fairfax area , please call us at 703.750.6644, or email us. We accept most long term care insurance as payment and have a full time staff of trained and certified home care personnel covering the Fairfax County, Virginia area.

Alisa Meredith, Writer

Guest writer Alisa Meredith is a blogger and social media professional with Scalable Social Media. Every once in a while, someone at Home Instead does something that compels her to stop Tweeting and write something real! This is one of those times.

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