10 Emergency Precautions to Take to Ensure your Older Adult is safe for any natural disaster

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We’ve all read the headlines and they bring pause when thinking about older adults in our lives.  Hurricane Katrina left over a million victims homeless and many weren’t rescued after multiple weeks, The Northridge Earthquake damaged freeways, gas lines were broken causing home fires and thousands were injured and left homeless, and Eagle Creek Forest Fire that burned for months leaving hikers stranded for one night on the trail and many others evacuated from their home.

For adult children, nieces or nephews these headlines are a wake up call for each of us who has an older adult in our life that we care for either locally or long distance.  These following steps can more than ensure your older adult can thrive in a disaster and will be more than a mere statistic.


  • Create a plan  – Use the American Red Cross Template found here:
  • Know where you would go in a disaster. Often this is a school or community gym.  If you have caregiver providing care for you it is important to know where they live and how the agency supports them to stay with you in the event of an emergency.
  • If you use Durable Medical Equipment such as oxygen review your plan of back up tanks and/or supplies.
  • Prepare your “To Go Bag” and keep in your car and/or at home for easy access. Originally government agencies recommended us to prepare bags to last 2 – 3 days.  Now, these same agencies are recommending that we prepare up to 2 weeks of supplies.
  • If you take prescription drugs, work with your pharmacist and/or insurance company to procure 2 week supply of medications. Like the rest of your emergency supplies cycle through these supplies every 3 – 6 months and replenish with new supplies.
  • Practice your plan. Practice exiting your home.  Each time try using a different route on a different day at a different time.  Even your home and neighborhood can look different on a Sunday evening than on a busy Thursday morning.
  • After practicing your plan, review and update with all that you’ve learned. One client we worked with had to use their emergency food supplies due to a sudden and unexpected snow storm and discovered that the canned food they had purchased was not at all what they wanted to eat when it was cold temperatures.  Think of different seasons and what you would prefer at different times during the year.
  • Ensure you are signed up to receive government emergency broadcast messages. You can sign up through your county and/or federal emergency departments through your email and or on app’s.
  • Share your plan with family members and/or your nearby community friends and neighbors so everyone knows how to contact you in an emergency.
  • Remember your Aging Life Care Manager can help you and/or your caregivers prepare, plan and practice your emergency plan with your older adult; further ensuring and averting a potential crisis.

Joyce Sjoberg

Aging Life Care Manager

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