• Kathryn Watson

Prepare Seniors for Hurricane Season



Hurricane season can do a lot of damage. Not only to our property, but people can get seriously hurt. Keeping safe during these storms is easy if you are prepared.

Preparing our seniors is vital. Whether they live with us, on their own or in care, they need to be protected. And if you know a senior who has dementia, even the beginning stages they will need extra help. There are a few easy steps you can take to ensure their safety.

Preparing For Hurricanes

Consider taking these measures to keep vulnerable seniors safe during hurricane season.

Emergency Supplies



Gather these items together and place them in an air-tight, waterproof container:

Check flashlights are all working and that there are fresh batteries available.

Make sure their cell phone is charged and have a charger prepared, as well.

Have drinking water.

Have dried or prepared non-perishable food available.

Include blankets, pillows, a change of clothing and paper products, like toilet paper or paper towels.

Also, add these items to a water-proof container:


Get at least two extra week’s worth of prescriptions prepared and on hand. Keep medical insurance and other important identification and documents in a sealed container.

This should also include a list of medications, any medical concerns they have and even allergies. Storms cause seniors to become more confused. And those with dementia may experience more confusion and anxiety. If they are unable to speak or are injured, it will be very important.

You also may consider including some cash, just in case they can’t access an ATM. It could be needed if they call a taxi or need some supplies. But remember, even it you only suspect that someone has dementia, you must make sure someone is available to help.

Matches or a lighter, and small votive candles will come in handy if the power is out and the flashlights die. But they should only be used as a last resort.

Put all these items in a safe room, preferably one without windows. Always include their pets in the plan and have supplies for them.

Evacuation Plan



Regardless of where they live, be it with you or on their own, prepare an escape route. This will include practicing getting out, if necessary and safe. Find a safe place to go that is nearby. Have a list of emergency numbers to call if needed.

Find out if there are emergency shelters set up in their area. It might be a local school, church or community center. Again, do not leave a senior alone during a hurricane, especially if dementia is involved. Make sure the caregiver in charge knows where to go if they need to evacuate.

It’s important to emphasize that they need to leave before it gets too bad. It can be hard to determine the severity of the storm, so sooner rather than later.

It’s a good idea to have a carryall for them to use if needed. They may want to take their emergency package with them, transport a pet or take blankets.

If they rely on a medical device that requires power, you will need a backup battery that will be able to power it for an extended time. There are chargers that are powered by solar power, electricity and various types of generators.

You may want to consider moving them to a shelter or to stay with someone else during the storm. If they are alone, anything could happen, and it could be days before you hear anything. Nobody should be alone during a hurricane. And certainly not a senior with dementia.

Plan arrangements with a hospital, care home, shelter, family member or even a close neighbor. It is better to be overly cautious than not enough. If you live far away from them, it is better for them to be with someone.

Contacts



Make sure your loved ones have contacts. This can be you, neighbors, the local shelter or safe house and emergency staff. Program the numbers right in their phone and make sure they know which is which.

Remain in contact with them before, during and after the storm. Checking in regularly will not only give you both peace of mind, but you will know their status.

If they live far away from you, enlist a friend or neighbor nearby to keep an eye on them. Exchange phone numbers with everyone so you know how they are doing and where they are.

Other Precautions

Check their home to make sure everything is safe. Reinforce windows and doors. Clear away anything that may get blown about and cause damage to the house. That would include any outdoor furniture, lawnmower, clotheslines and other yard tools.

Consider installing shutters or boarding up windows that may get broken during the storm. Take in potted plants, wind chimes and flags.

Review their homeowners or insurance policies and make sure everything is up to date. Keep these with their other important documents.

Have a small portable battery-operated television or radio so they can find out what is happening.

Be Prepared

The best way through a hurricane is being prepared. Get everything ready as soon as you receive the storm warnings. It is far better to be overly prepared than to fall short.

If you can’t be there yourself, get someone you can trust to make sure the seniors in your life will be safe and sound during the entire storm.





In honor of our founder Pat Mack, we are carrying on the tradition of caring for our residents in "The Light Heart Way"


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