Most of us are no stranger to natural disasters. We know that when they hit, each of us needs to make sure that we are as prepared as possible. The disaster may require you or your senior loved ones to stay in your homes until an emergency passes. This is based on information from public safety officials who know when it is just too dangerous for people to be outside, even if they are trying to flee the area.
In other cases, officials may urge, even mandate, a widespread evacuation. This is often the case in anticipation of a hurricane. Certain areas in our local corner of Virginia may be prone to flooding, storm surge or are in the direct path of 100 mph winds.
For seniors, an evacuation could easily be more stressful and challenging than for younger, more able-bodied people. With some advance preparation, however, anyone can put their best foot forward. This is true even in an emergency.
If you need to evacuate, first coordinate with your family, friends and home care provider, if you have one. Come up with safety procedures ahead of time so you know what to do when it’s time for the real thing. The last thing you want to do is try to develop a plan during a crisis.
Let us share the tips we give to our family, friends, neighbors and community friends:
- Carpool to a safe location, if possible
- Wear appropriate clothing and sturdy shoes
- Make, and take a disaster supply kit with first aid materials
- Make a list of prescription medications and with the help of your doctor order them ahead of time
- Know your safest travel routes ahead of time and do not take unsafe shortcuts
Evacuating is one thing, but knowing where you are evacuating to is another. If your family lives far away or you have no place to go on short-notice, then a shelter would probably be the best option. Many disaster relief agencies and organizations exist to provide safety shelters for people from all walks of life, especially senior citizens. Learn the location of special shelters that are designed to help those with special needs or pets.
It’s recommended that you notify your family, friends and at least one out-of-town contact when you are evacuating. Do not wait to notify the agent under your durable power of attorney if this is a different person. Let them know the exact name and location of the shelter once you arrive.
Notify shelter management personnel of any special needs you may have. This can include important health conditions and prescription medications you are taking, but also if you’ve suffered any injuries during the course of the evacuation.
Remember, hurricanes and other disasters can cause emotional distress. Don’t be afraid to tell someone about any emotional or physical reactions you may be having. This can include, stomach aches, headaches, fatigue, difficulty resting, disruptions in appetite, and the worsening of any chronic medical conditions, such as diabetes, arthritis and high-blood pressure.
Be aware of what may be happening, and know that the best way to alleviate these complications, is to first prepare for an evacuation scenario as best you can. Do you need help planning? Have more questions after reading this article? Do not wait to contact our office!