This lovely week in autumn, as we wander amidst the beginning of delightful fall foliage, we're also talking about Disaster Preparedness across the nation and across my blogs! FEMA and other government and community agencies are sharing valuable and vital emergency preparation tips for National Preparedness Month 2014 and National Prepareathon Day on September 30, 2014. That's a subject near and dear to my heart so I'm joining in big time!
Here at SandwichINK Real Estate Info, the topic focus is helping our elderly seniors stay safe at home – whether their own home, a multigenerational home they share, or even in a care facility. And emergency preparation is just as vital for them! Maybe more so as they are less likely to be aware of a disaster as others – or to react as fast to a dangerous situation.
As FEMA puts it, Elderly seniors, particularly those "with medical issues and limited mobility, can be especially vulnerable should a natural or manmade disaster strike. Local, state and federal officials are urging all Americans, in particular the elderly, to review, update and rehearse their disaster plans. Those living in a group setting, such as a nursing home or adult living facility, should speak with the administrator to learn about the specific disaster/evacuation plan for that facility."
Many of the normal preparation items are the same for all of us, including a NOAA emergency radio. My senior mom is way ahead of all of us there – she's been using one of those for years, just because she likes how good the reception is and how easy they are to operate. I always tell her, she's my emergency backup if we ever need one of those!
Some preparation items FEMA suggests for elderly seniors are different, though. Here are some of the items they recommend specific to older seniors:
- "Prescription medicines: These should be rotated frequently and kept up to date;
- Medical supplies: an extra pair of glasses, hearing-aid batteries and any other personally needed medical devices;
- An emergency contact list: to reach family, friends and emergency numbers;
- If you live alone, talk to your family or friends about preparing for emergencies, getting help in the event of an evacuation and dealing with the aftermath of a disaster. Create a network of neighbors, relatives, friends and co-workers who can help in an emergency. Discuss needs and make sure everyone knows how to operate necessary medical equipment.
- Arrange for electronic payments of federal benefits or other retirement income. A disaster can disrupt mail service for days or even weeks. Switching to electronic payments also eliminates the risk of stolen checks. The federal government recommends two safer ways to get federal benefits:
- Direct deposit to a checking or savings account is the best option for people with bank accounts. Federal benefit recipients can sign up by calling (800) 333-1795 or at www.godirect.org/.
- The Direct Express® prepaid debit card is designed as a safe and easy alternative topaper checks for people who don't have a bank account. Sign up is easy – call toll-freeat (877) 212-9991 or sign up online at http://www.usdirectexpress.com/edcfdtclient/index.html
- Disaster-assistance grants are not considered taxable income and will not affect eligibility for Social Security, Medicaid, welfare assistance, food stamps, Supplemental Security Income or Aid to Families with Dependent Children."
You can read the entire page at FEMA.gov – Elderly Need Special Plans To Be Ready For A Disaster
Here's a great video for boomers and seniors:
Here's the Ready.gov link for seniors referred to in the video. And by the way, one thing this video recommends is to teach senior parents how to text. Sadly, that isn't going to be possible for many. That's why it is also vital for those of us overseeing our beloved seniors – near or far – to check in with them regularly in case of problems. I also recommend signing up for emergency information from cities and counties in the areas they live to be notified of emergencies sooner.
I really liked this great printout to post at home or share online – Prepare For Emergencies Now: Information For Older Americans
Here are a few other valuable links and resources:
- AARP – A Caregiver’s Natural Disaster Prep List
- Red Cross – Disaster Preparedness FOR SENIORS BY SENIORS
- CDC – A resource page full of great links including dealing with medications
- CDC – Disaster Planning Tips for Older Adults and their Families – Great article with links
- Dept. of Aging, CA – A Resource page full of tip sheets in a variety of languages
- Public Health Emergency – Disaster Preparedness Planning for Older Adults, including Flu Outbreaks +
Great disaster preparation resources for elderly seniors and caregivers, that's for sure. Do you have any resources to share as well? We'd love to hear! And don't forget, even though we are staying busy caring for elderly parents, working at home or out, and now – preparing for any emergencies, it's vital to take good care of the caregiver as well. That may be the most important emergency preparedness tip of all for caregivers! So don't forget to…