Helping seniors weather the storm - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Helping seniors weather the storm

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By Alicia Eakin - bio | email

September 3, 2008

VALDOSTA, GA (WALB) - With a busy 2008 Hurricane Season, Home Instead Senior Care wants to make sure senior citizens everywhere are prepared for any severe weather we might see.  They have ten tips to help your loved ones weather the storm.

10 Ways to Help Seniors Prepare for Disaster

According to Home Instead Senior Care, following are 10 ways that seniors, their families and caregivers can prepare for a natural disaster.

1. Tune in.  Stay abreast of what's going on in your area through your local radio or television.  Know where to get information during an emergency, either through the local television, radio or NOAA weather radio.  Make sure that a senior who is hearing- or vision-impaired has the proper tools to be notified of a disaster.

2.  Take stock.  Decide what your senior can or can't do in the event of a natural disaster.  Make a list of what would be needed for that individual if a disaster occurred.  For example, if your loved one is wheelchair-bound, where would that individual go to take shelter and how would that person get out if evacuation was ordered.  Make sure you prepare for whatever disaster could hit the area.

3.  To go or to stay?  When deciding to evacuate, older adults should go sooner rather than later.  By waiting too long, they may be unable to leave if they require assistance from others.

  4.  Make a plan.  Schedule a family meeting to develop a plan of action.  Include in your plan key people - such as neighbors, friends, relatives and professional caregivers - who could help. 

5.  More than one way out.  Like all families and households, seniors should develop at least two escape routes, one out of their home in case of a fire when they need to get out of the home quickly and out of the area in case they need to evacuate their community.  (The local emergency management office can tell you escape routes out of the community.)

6.  Meet up.  Designate a place to meet other relatives or key support network people outside the house, as well as a second location outside the neighborhood, such as a school or church.  Practice the plan at least twice a year.  This is important in case you get separated.  Select long-distance family or friends to call in case of major disaster/evacuation, where a local meeting place is not possible (such as what happened after Hurricane Katrina).

7.  Get up and "Go Kit."  Have an easy-to-carry backpack including three days non-perishable food and water with an additional four days of food and water readily accessible at home.  Have at least one gallon of water per person per day.  Bottled water may be easier to store and carry.  Refresh and replace your supplies at least twice a year.  And don't forget the blanket and paper products such as toilet paper.

8.  Pack extras and copies.  Have at least a one-month supply of medication on hand at all times.  Make ready other important documents in a water-proof protector including copies of prescriptions, car title registration and driver's license, insurance documents and bank account numbers, and spare checkbook.  Also take extra eye glasses and hearing-aid batteries.  Label every piece of important equipment or personal item in case they are lost.

9.  Your contact list.  Compile a contact list and include people on a senior's support network as well as doctors and other important health-care professionals. 

10.  Professional help.  Call a professional CAREGiver if you or your loved one needs extra help.  If a senior needs assistance and you can't be there, contact Home Instead Senior Care at <<Insert local Home Instead Senior Care telephone number.>>  Or find a Home Instead Senior Care office nearest your loved one by logging on to www.homeinstead.com.

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