Recent months have seen a considerable number of natural disasters, including hurricanes, storms, and wildfires. All Americans, including aging parents and other seniors, need to have an emergency preparedness plan so that they know what to do in case of a disaster situation.
Creating a plan may take some time, but it is worthwhile so that aging parents and other family members are clear about how they should respond if an emergency event arises. This link from the Federal Emergency Management Agency provides some handy tips.
Things to Consider
As aging parents and their families make plans for an emergency, here are some things to consider:
- Figure out who needs to be part of the plan. Caregivers, relatives, or friends may need to be involved so that if aging parents need assistance, someone can come help or can know to send help to the house. Make sure that other trusted individuals have keys to the home. Be very clear about where medical supplies and equipment are stored.
- Consider keeping a “to go” bag. A “to go” bag has a change of clothing and other important supplies — water, food, first aid kit, medicines, etc. It is kept in one place and is always stocked so that in the event that a person must leave quickly, they can simply grab the bag and go.
- Discuss meeting places. If a home or town must be evacuated, it’s good to set up a designated meeting place so that family members can gather together.
- Know about shelters. Draw up a list of alternative housing options, including names, addresses, and contact info for relatives or friends with whom one can stay. Also know what public facilities the local government has available and know where they are located.
- Set up a direct deposit account. Social security and other regular payments can be deposited electronically directly into a bank account. This can be important if an emergency causes mail service to be delayed for days or weeks.
Aging parents and other seniors who think ahead and plan for uncertain situations are better prepared in the event of an emergency.