Disaster Planning Tips for Older Adults

It’s been a brutal year for natural disasters. The Midwest and Southeastern states have been devastated by tornadoes. Epic flooding is destroying communities along the Mississippi. And hurricane season along the East Coast is just around the corner.

When it comes to dealing with disasters, the time to get ready is NOW, not when everyone around you is scrambling to prepare for an impending flood or a hurricane.

This is particularly true for older adults who live alone and the caregivers on whom many older adults depend. That’s because most older adults need to customize their emergency preparations with supplies and planning that meets their specific needs. For example:

…because older adults become dehydrated more easily, it’s a good idea to store more water than recommended… make sure that the jugs aren’t too heavy. For those who choose not to buy storage containers or bottled water, a sanitized two-liter plastic soda bottle might be a better option than gallon jugs. Caps should be easily removed by someone with arthritis.

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Here are just a few of the critical disaster planning questions that older adults and caregivers should consider:

• Do you need low-salt or high-fiber foods? Do you need to maintain sugar levels because of diabetes?

• Do you have enough essential prescription meds and healthcare supplies to last at least 14 days?

• In the event of an evacuation, do you have a plan in place to contact friends and family? Do you know what to take — and what to leave behind?

Need help getting started? Get a copy of The University of Florida’s incredibly useful guide, “Disaster Planning Tips for Older Adults.” Download your free copy here.