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Disaster Preparedness And Management For Seniors

March 24, 2019 | Life | By Lisa Smith

Natural disaster is a traumatic affair for all, and especially more so for seniors. The elderly are weaker and less mobile which makes it very difficult for them to react and respond to a natural disaster quickly. Also, they need help to move out of the stricken zone which might not be available. But, on the positive side, one can be better prepared for it so that the management is better when a natural disaster strikes.

Know What Risks You Are Facing

Know your area well and find out what risks you might be facing in the region. For example do you stay at a low lying area where floods can happen or in a zone that is prone to earthquakes? Once you know what your risks are you will be able to keep yourself better prepared. For example if you are in a flood prone area then it will make sense for you to check out flood insurance options and get yourself one as well.

Know Where To Go For Help

All neighbourhoods have a place and emergency numbers where one can reach out to the moment a disaster strikes. Find out which one is for you. Some other numbers that you should keep handy are those of the fire department, water service, hospital, animal control etc. Other than this, make a list of all the emergency numbers and addresses and keep it in a place where you can easily find it. At your age, you must pass on this information to your caregiver or share it with your family as well.

Have A Plan From Beforehand

A natural disaster strikes  when you are least expecting it. At your age, it will be difficult for you to suddenly come up with a plan as to what to do next and you might even suffer a cardiac arrest due to the fear that it brings. So as to avoid this, you should have a plan from before. While making this plan, the things that you should bear in mind are:

  • How would you pass on information to your family that you are introuble
  • What would be the easiest way to escape in case of fire or flood.
  • Where do you go after you have escaped and who do you call first
  • At your age moving around quickly might be a challenge – so you should keep practicing  an escape drill from your house regularly so that you know the best way to move out
  • Tornadoes come with little warning  so you should know which are the safe places in your house where you can hide during this time
  • If your mobility is restricted you should have a transport plan in place

Keep An Emergency Kit Ready

You cannot take everything with you when you have to vacate your home and, at your age, neither will you be able to carry a huge weight. So, you need to keep a small bag ready for a time when you might need to vacate and have little time in hand to think things through. Keep this kit at a place where you can reach it easily (and so can your caregiver). Here are some of the things that should go into your bag:

  • An ID tag with an emergency number and your blood group so as to identify you
  • Food that will not perish and will last you for 3-4 days
  • A couple of bottles of water
  • Your essential medicines and a first aid kit
  • Wheelchair, cane, walker, hearing aid
  • Your essential documents
  • Some extra clothes
  • Extra keys
  • Must have toiletries
  • Knife, can opener, waterproof matches, torch
  • Phone and charger
  • Cash
  • Pet food if you have a pet

Know Your Neighbour

It is always good to know your neighbours, and more so at your age if you are living alone. In case of a natural disaster or an emergency, they will be there to help you. They will also become your first point of contact who you can reach out to in times of trouble. In fact, you should also share your emergency contact list and as well as a list of the medicines you take with them.

Use Protective Measures

If you take precautionary measures from before then you will be able to protect yourself when the calamity strikes. For example to prepare your self from fires occurring at your house  you can install a smoke alarm, keep your chimney and fireplace serviced, and have a fire alarm with lights as this will help in case you cannot hear too well – the light will draw your attention.

Have A Plan For Your Pet

Your pet is like your family. You cannot leave him behind. And yet when a disaster strikes you will be wondering how to deal with the pet. Other than keeping a kit ready for him, know which are the pet shelters near you and also the pet friendly hotels in the region.

A natural disaster is not something that you can avoid since it comes without any prior information. But by taking precautions and necessary safeguards you will be able to keep yourself safe and not panic stricken if and when such a disaster strikes.

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