Friday, August 17, 2018

Prepping for the Elderly

As we get older and our bodies break down, there are several extra things we need to take into consideration when prepping:

  • Medications--do you have at least a month's medications in reserve in case you have no access to a pharmacy?  Also keep paper/digital records of all of your prescriptions.
  • Eye glasses--if you can't see without them, consider getting a second pair to have in reserve.  Also have a copy of your eye glass prescription on hand.
  • Hearing aids--keep your old ones just in case the new ones get lost/broken and have lots of spare batteries for both.
  • Mobility--whether you need a cane, walker, wheel chair, or scooter, consider how you would evacuate/maneuver around your home during a disaster (earthquake, extended power outage, etc).
  • Dentures--your old dentures won't fit after a month or so with new dentures so be able to fix the new ones if they break (Super Glue works for this).  Keep denture cleanser as well as denture adhesive in reserve. Other options may include permanent dentures or implants.  Dentures have a limited lifespan so plan on replacements as your dentist recommends.
  • Evacuation--if you no longer drive or rely on public transit, consider how you would evacuate in the event of a disaster (call a friend or family member for a ride?).  Plan how you would evacuate from your home during a fire.
  • Critical medical needs--if you rely on a ventilator, oxygen, dialysis, etc. and will die without these things, consider what would happen during a disaster.  Do you need to evacuate prior to a disaster?  Do you need a generator and spare fuel?  Does your community have a plan for oxygen delivery?
  • Are you doing as much as you can everyday to keep your health in check such as eating well, strength and balance exercises, etc?
  • Do you have assistive devices to meet your needs (such as smoke detectors that flash if you can't hear well, grab bars if you are unsteady on your feet, medical alert devices if needed, etc)?
  • Do you have a plan with neighbors, friends or relatives to help you during a disaster?  
  • Do neighbors, friends, or relatives have a key to your home and is their name/number posted on your front door/window with an "in case of emergency" notice?
  • Are all of your important papers in order (and digitally backed up) including a Will, Medical Power of Attorney, life insurance, a pre-planned/pre-paid funeral, all financial documents, a list of passwords/access codes, etc?
  • Do you have enough food, water, and supplies to stay in your home for up to a month without assistance from the outside (water should be rotated and easy enough for you to pick up, food should be easy to cook or able to eat cold if necessary, supplies should include toilet paper/adult diapers if needed/wet wipes/hand sanitizer/first aid supplies/etc).
  • Do you have a plan for alternate heating/cooking/water supply/cooling without assistance from the outside?
  • Has your home been "disaster proofed" in regard to the most common type of emergencies in your area?  Don't forget to "fall proof" your home as well.
  • Do you have an emergency evacuation bag (BOB) that you can "grab and go" at a moment's notice?
  • What will you do with your pets during a disaster?  Do you have extra food/supplies/gear for them on hand?
  • Can you shut off your utilities during a disaster by yourself?
  • Do you have several ways to communicate with friends/neighbors/relatives before, during, and after a disaster?
  • Does your community have a way for you to register for additional assistance during a disaster (sometimes Senior Centers, Area Agency on Aging, the Red Cross keep a list of vulnerable people in the community)?
  • Have you researched disaster prep options in your community (what do emergency sirens sound like, where are local emergency shelters/cooling stations, what are the best sources of local news and disaster alerts, etc)?
  • Have you considered volunteering in your local community to prepare for a disaster (senior centers, the Red Cross, CERT teams, etc can always use more volunteers)?
  • Do you have extra cash on hand (hidden of course) to use during a disaster?
  • Are all of your insurance coverages up to date and paid for?
  • Are you aware of what to do after a disaster (how to file insurance claims, how to apply for FEMA assistance if available, how to avoid scams, how to seek medical/psychological assistance if needed, etc)?
There's a baseline that everyone should have for being prepared but if you or someone you love has additional needs such as being elderly, ill, infirm, a small child, etc. additional preparedness should be done ahead of any possible disaster.

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