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Keeping an eye on elderly family members during hurricane season

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The Atlantic hurricane season started on June 1st and won’t finish until November 30. Already we’ve seen multiple hurricanes and tropical storms hit the eastern cost of the United States including Hurricane Alex (category 1), Tropical Storm Bonnie, Topical Storm Colin, and Hurricane Hermine (category 1).

As residents of Florida whether it’s all year or just part-time, we understand the risks of living here. Florida is one of the lowest-lying states! Just Like Family and many of our nurses and patients are located in Collier, Lee, and Charlotte Counties, with many people located just minutes from the Gulf of Mexico.

We see many retirees living here that don’t have a well-planned out strategy for what to do when the next storm hits. If you have a loved one in “Hurricane Alley” as many like to call this southeastern part of the US, be sure to write down some of these tips in order to help prepare them for any upcoming storms.

Supplies you need

The last thing you want to have to do is run out to Publix or Home Depot to pick up supplies right when a storm is announced. Everyone else in the town is doing the same and it is likely that popular items like bottled water, batteries, and ply wood could get sold out.

Stock up on these non-perishable items and have them on hand for emergencies.

These include items like:

  • Batteries
  • Radio
  • Flashlight
  • Bottled water (1 gallon per person per day)
  • First aid kit
  • Peanut butter & jelly
  • Canned food (ready to eat)
  • Energy bars, trail mix
  • Vitamins
  • Prescription drugs
  • Rain gear

The US Coast Guard has an in-depth list of items you can have on-hand in case of a storm.

Other ways to Prepare

Rather than worry about having to buy plywood and drill it onto the outside of your windows, invest in some storm shutters. These are especially helpful for the elderly as they are much easier to deploy when needed.

Have an emergency contact that lives nearby. If your loved one lives in Florida and you live in another state, you’ll want to have a contact you can trust that is willing to help your loved one during a storm. You’ll want to make sure that they have your phone number and all other contact information, and vice versa.

Create a plan in the case of a true emergency. If the time comes to evacuate, you will want to know exactly where they should be going. Do they need to go to a nearby shelter? Can someone pick them up and drive with them to a safe city outside of the path of the storm? These are all things you should discuss before the time comes. The last thing you need is to have to make last-minute decisions during an emergency.

Get your loved one a cell phone. If they don’t have one already, and prefer to use a landline, you should purchase a cheap elderly-friendly phone like the Jitterbug. They should have one just in case of anything.

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Getting Ready for Hurricane Season

Already we have seen a storm approach as we hit hurricane season. Tropical Storm Danny is the fourth named storm of the Atlantic hurricane season, though it’s no longer a hurricane. It has yet to hit the US, but it is unlikely it will develop into a hurricane.

This is good news for us in Southwest Florida, aka Hurricane Alley. We are no strangers to hurricanes, although we have had relatively mild hurricane seasons in the past few years. Over the last 9 years, the US hasn’t seen a hurricane higher than a Category 3 (these storms go up to 5). Experts are predicting a 90% chance of a below-normal hurricane season this year (NOAA Climate Prediction Center). This is great news!

But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t prepare. It’s always best to be safe, have supplies on hand, and have an escape plan in place. It’s estimated that of the 6-10 named storms for this season, only 1-4 are likely to become hurricanes.

Hurricanes bring with them heavy rains, flooding, and devastating wind. Even if you have been through hurricanes already, you shouldn’t take them lightly. These storms can change strength and course very quickly, giving you little time to prepare.

It’s especially important to ensure that older Americans are well prepared and taken care of in the case of an emergency.

The Red Cross has created a great checklist to help you prepare for a storm. So get ready before another storm approaches.

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Plan for your Pets during Hurricane Season

(Photo credit: Weather Channel iWitness user Debra McCord)

(Photo credit: Weather Channel iWitness user Debra McCord)

It’s hurricane season in Southwest Florida and Just Like Family Home Care has a top notch check list for Seniors when it comes time to prepare for the big storm, but we also don’t want to forget about our four legged friends! At Just Like Family Home Care we know family includes everyone!

When it comes to making plans make sure you include all your family members even your furry loved ones. It’s not unusual for many pets to be abandoned following major hurricanes like Hurricane Katrina and Hurricane Charley. It is very important to include your animals in your evacuation plan to make sure that they are taken care of.

Counties like Charlotte, Lee, and Collier have emergency shelters for families and their pets but space is often restricted to those in spots where evacuation is mandatory. Experts suggest to have a plan in place for a hurricane with your last resort seeking refuge at a pet friendly shelter.

Preparing for a hurricane is vital for the safety of your family and your pets. Pet owners need to make sure that they have everything they need for a pet friendly shelter when an emergency occurs. Owners need to have their pet’s vaccinations up to date. Remember, it takes a couple of week for most immunizations to become protective.

Owners will need an impact resistant crate that is sufficient size for each pet. As for your pets identification, you must to have your pets’ county licensing tag as well as an ID tag on their collars. As a general guide, pet owners should have a weeks worth of pet food in waterproof containers, a weeks worth of water and a few weeks worth of medications. Other things to consider are a bowl for water, bedding, chew toys, leash, proof of vaccinations, grooming items and a pet first-aid kit.

Click here for more information on Hurricane Preparedness for Your Pets