Getting Ready for an Emergency – Be Prepared

Emergency Preparedness

The kids are just about back in school, the heat of the early summer months is behind us (at least where I live), and my favorite MLB team is hanging in there. You know what that means? It is just about September!

That also means it is almost Emergency Preparedness Month. In my role as an elder care consultant, I help employees and families of elders “be prepared.” This is in many areas of their lives, and certainly in the area of emergency preparedness. Since this is almost September, with a national month recognizing the importance of planning for an emergency, it is a perfect time for all of us to review our emergency plans, check and update our supplies, and make sure our loved ones (families, elders, children and pets), are as well protected as possible.

A Very Thorough Emergency Preparedness Checklist. They just keep getting better.  There are many websites on the internet to help us with the task of preparing for an emergency. Here are two: red cross, and fema.gov. The available information improves each year.  These two sites are both full of the necessary information, lists in multiple languages, and ideas to help us prepare.  Another, recently published in the “Power of 50” in the July/August 2012 AARP Bulletin, is another comprehensive list.  I’ve included it here.

Elder Specific Needs. If preparing an emergency kit for an elder, consider how a disaster will affect their individual needs. Are they ambulatory? Could they walk out of their residence, or would they need assistance from a caregiver? Medications? Where are they and are they ready so that you can grab and go? Do you have an adequate supply at all times? A 14 day supply is optimal.  Do you have a written list? Include dosage, treatment and allergy information. Any durable medical equipment needs? Wheelchair, walker, etc? Consider other personal needs such as eyeglasses, hearing aids and hearing aid batteries, wheelchair batteries, and oxygen.  By all means, refer to a general list, and add the elder specific items you need.

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