Helping Seniors Prepare for Hurricane Season

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Hurricane season is already upon us, as you saw with Hurricane Arthur hitting the Atlantic coast earlier this month. Being in Southwest Florida, it is essential that we make sure to plan ahead and have supplies ready just in case another storm comes our way. What would you do without electricity, water or a way to communicate? While hurricanes affect each and every one of us, senior citizens in particular can be more vulnerable and may need extra help in planning. Many Seniors are in good health, but aren’t quite as agile as they once were. Some have hearing or vision problems, others use a cane or wheelchair. Whatever the limitation, we at Just Like Family Home Care want to make sure our all of our clients are prepared. Whether it’s ensuring they have a full supply of their medications or making sure their supply bag is not too heavy, it’s important to get all the essentials squared away ahead of time.

THE KIT

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What are some of the first things you think of when putting together a supply kit? Of course food, water, and medicine. But, how much do all of these items weigh? It is best to put these supplies and other necessities in a bag with wheels for added convenience. Ensure the bag has copies of personal documents, contact info cards, and even a cell phone with an extra battery or charger in case.  This bag can be used as a “go” bag in case you or your family member must evacuate.
Water: a rule of thumb for water is one gallon per person, per day, with a two week supply for home and a three day supply for evacuation.

Food: The same rule of thumb for water goes for food, but make sure your food doesn’t require cooking.

Prescription Medication: You should have, at least, a two week supply of all prescription medications along with a list that includes dosage and any allergies. If you or your loved one use any special medical aids like oxygen, catheters, or electric wheelchairs, you need to be sure to have extra supplies for each.

Tools, Flashlights & Cash: You never know when the power will go out so it’s always a good idea to have a multi-purpose tool, flashlight with extra batteries, and manual can opener readily available. We recommend that Seniors have a whistle that can be used to call for help in case of an emergency.

Cash: Consider having cash stashed away because the loss of power will disable ATMs.

Important Papers: put all important papers in a waterproof container. These documents include, but are not limited to your driver’s license, special medical information, medical insurance and Medicare cards, insurance policies, family and physician contact numbers and a list of the style and serial numbers of any medical devices, i.e. pacemaker.

MAKE A PLAN

Be sure to discuss evacuations plans with your family ahead of time. In case you cannot return home, plan an evacuation route and a meeting place. This is especially crucial if you or your loved one uses a wheelchair or is bed ridden. Make sure you assign an out-of-town contact person, because after a natural disaster, it is often easier to make a long-distance phone call, than a local call.

Seniors and those who are disabled will typically need special assistance in order to evacuate. Many cities offer evacuation shelters and it is a good idea to determine your families criteria for when to evacuate ahead of time, so you’re not making this important decision in the middle of the hurricane. You will want to have this conversation as soon as possible, to ensure proper transportation and accommodations. This may mean going to a shelter, hotel, or relative’s home out of town.

Just Like Family Home Care Checklist:

1. _____ Important medical, family contact and insurance information, safe and secure

2. _____ Water ( Two week supply at home, three day supply if evacuating |1 gallon per person, per day)

3. _____ Food (2-week supply of nonperishable food at home, 3-day supply if evacuating)

4. _____ Non-electric can-opener

5. _____ Battery powered radio

6. _____ Flashlights

7. _____ Extra batteries

8. _____ Two-week supply of prescription medication & list that includes dosages and allergies

9. _____ Mosquito repellant

10. _____ First Aid Kit

11. _____ Water purification kit (tablets, plain chlorine and iodine)

12. _____ Pre-moistened towelettes

13. _____ Antibacterial wipes and/or hand sanitizer

14. _____ Walker, wheelchair, and other medical equipment (talk to medical equipment company prior to determine needs for battery or electric powered devices, register with the power company if electricity required for Oxygen or special needs)

If you evacuate, also take:

15. _____ Bedding

16. _____ Extra clothing and shoes

17. _____ Eyeglasses

18. _____ Folding chair or cot

19. _____ Extra hearing aid batteries

20. _____ Walker, wheelchair, and other medical equipment

21. _____ Important papers (in a waterproof container)

a. _____Driver’s license

b. _____ Special medical information

c. _____ Medical insurance and Medicare cards

d. _____ Insurance policies

e. _____ Family and physician contact numbers

f. _____ List of style and serial numbers of medical devices, i.e. pacemaker

Precious commodities before and after a storm:

22. _____ Cash, Ice, Charcoal, Wooden Matches, Grill

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