Older Texans are one of the most at-risk groups when a
disaster happens. If you fall into this group, or you’re making a plan that
includes aging parents or elderly relatives, you’ll have to address a number of
age-related issues so that an emergency situation is less challenging.
Are there special health-related issues that have to be
considered? A disaster situation might threaten or aggravate the health of an
elderly plan member. Create a special contact sheet that has a complete medical
history and details important information for emergency/rescue personnel. Make
certain a copy is on hand at all times. If you have to evacuate, keep a copy
with the elderly plan member in case you become separated. Having a detailed
medical history on hand can help medical professionals provide faster treatment
and care during an emergency.
Are there special medication needs to consider? If you or an
elderly person you’re planning for has a special medication schedule or must
take special medications, make sure they’re included in your plan. Do you have
a complete list of medications, dosages and times they should be taken? Do you
have copies of prescriptions to show emergency/rescue personnel? Do you have
someone designated to monitor the dosage schedule and administer medications?
Are there special mobility needs to consider? In an
emergency situation, sometimes you have no option but to move to a shelter,
another city, or even out of the state. If you or the elderly person you’re
planning for has special mobility needs, traveling can create challenges you
need to consider. What special travel arrangements will you need to prepare
for? Will physical exertion aggravate a preexisting condition? Do you have a
collapsible wheelchair on-hand?
Will transportation assistance be needed to evacuate in
advance of a hurricane?
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Does the elderly person you are planning for require special
medical equipment? Many older Texans are able to maintain a certain quality of
life through the aid of special medical equipment. Some of this equipment may
not be available during an emergency, however, because the electricity is out
or the equipment can’t be transported. Does special medical equipment limit the
mobility or the distance you can travel? Who will be responsible for bringing
along the special equipment should you have to evacuate? Do you have spare
parts or materials for the equipment in your supplies?
These are just some of the issues you’ll need to
consider when making emergency plans that include older Texans. For additional
information on planning for aging adults and helpful tips to effectively manage
an emergency situation, visit: