When it comes to planning your food storage and other emergency supplies, there are some groups that need special consideration. Can you guess which they are? Today, let’s take a look at some special needs of the elderly.
More and more families have an elderly parent or grandparent living with them. Or there could be someone elderly living near you that you would want to help in an emergency (a nearby relative or neighbor, perhaps?). Because of this, you need to think about some special items when you are planning ahead for an emergency.
First of all, those who are elderly often need more water. They will be more affected in the event of harsh weather (heat, cold), as well as drought. Be sure to plan extra water if you will have elderly people with you.
Also, the elderly are much more likely to have special medications (prescription and over-the-counter) that they need on a regular basis. These prescriptions and other medical supplies are important to have in an emergency kit. There are ways to get some prescriptions for a supply ahead. You can ask your health care provider or pharmacist for a small supply ahead, or you can fill your prescription as early as possible (giving you a few extra pills to set aside each month). There are other methods, too. You should try to store at least a week’s worth of prescription medicines, though a 30-day supply would be even better. Why is it important to store medicines ahead? When there is a disaster, stores are more likely to be closed, there may not be transportation to the stores that are open, and the supplies of things like prescription medicine may be limited. Be sure you stay aware of the expiration dates of the medicine and rotate them regularly, like every 6 months (along with changing smoke alarm batteries and rotating stored water).
Elderly people who have difficulty with mobility or are in a wheelchair need to figure out ahead how they will evacuate if needed. If their wheelchair is motorized, consider having a backup wheelchair that is not motorized. If they use a walker, make sure it is kept where it can be accessed if needed.
Elderly people who are blind or have difficult seeing should have an extra cane where they can easily find it – like by their bed. You can also hook a whistle to it that will help them get help if needed. Remember that in the event of some types of emergencies (earthquakes, for example), normal paths can become obstructed.
Elderly people often also have other health needs – eye glasses (even an older prescription is better than no glasses at all), contact lenses and contact lens solution, hearing aid batteries and adult diapers and wipes.
In addition, you should have information in your emergency kit. The things you should have include:
- Doctors contact information
- Medicare or insurance card
- Emergency contacts
- A list of prescription medicines, including dosage taken
- A list of any allergies and information about medical conditions
- Information about any medical devices (style and serial numbers)
With these things in mind, take a look at how well you’ve prepared for any elderly people in your family, or that you are responsible for. What can you do to be more prepared?