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Drew: Disaster Recovery Plan for Older Adults

By Samuetta Hill Drew

Weekly we turn on the news and one of the lead stories is about disastrous weather which has struck a particular city or region of our country. This year no region of our country has been exempt. We have seen images of unbelievable snow accumulation amounts, devastating tornado damage that has wiped out an entire small town and rainfall so excessive in a brief period of time that it parlayed an entire city including one of the nation’s largest airports. With such disasters nationwide, it is essential everyone has a disaster recovery plan, but there are some additional inclusions for older adults.
Many natural disasters such as hurricanes, tornadoes, blizzards and floods force people to evacuate their homes at a moment’s notice. There are some possible issues older people have that require some pre-planning such as mobility issues or chronic health conditions.
The first step in disaster recovery planning is to identify a contact person as your emergency contact. Decide in advance how you will communicate with each other – such as by telephone, knocking on doors, etc.
Create a list of contact information for family members and friends. Leave a copy by your phone and include it in your Emergency Supply Kit.
In addition to your contact information, AARP suggests the following items be included as well for older adults, where applicable:
• A minimum of three-day supply of medications, along with cooler and ice packs if your medications require refrigeration. Also, if needed, medical supplies such as syringes.
• Contact solution, glasses and /or hearing aids and extra batteries for people who need them.
• An identification band with your full name, a list of any allergies and a family-member contact number.
• Information about your medical devices, including oxygen, walkers and wheelchairs. The information should include model numbers and the vendor of the products.
• Documents in a waterproof bag. They should include a personal care plan; contact information for family; medication list including the dosage, exact name, pharmacy information and the prescribing doctor for the medications; a list of food or medical allergies; copies of photo IDs and medical insurance cards; and durable power of attorney and/or medical power of attorney documents.
• Cash to be used if automatic teller and credit card machines are not working.

The intent of this article is to help older adults better prepare for disaster recovery by Keeping an Eye on Safety. Next week’s article will be a continuation of safety tips for older adults’ disaster recovery.