Storm Safety Plans for Senior Citizens and Persons with Disabilities

Senior citizens and people with disabilities may face significant challenges when preparing for a storm, sheltering in place, or evacuating to a shelter. While “checking in” with elderly and disabled friends and family before a storm strikes should be included in emergency safety plans, sometimes, more effort is needed.

There could be many issues that could prevent the elderly or disabled person to prepare and remain safe during a storm, including:

  • Chronic health conditions
  • Cognitive changes
  • Decreased vision and hearing ability
  • Dependence on certain medical equipment or medications
  • Disorientation and confusion
  • Economic and social limitations
  • Gathering supplies for an emergency supplies kit
  • Limited mobility
  • Sensory processing issues
  • Transportation limitations

Tips for Caregivers

To be prepared for any emergency, caregivers should:

  • Work closely with local social service agencies to learn about emergency plans for seniors and persons with disabilities. Many agencies provide assistance and guidance for developing emergency plans for vulnerable individuals.
  • Create a network of family, friends, neighbors, and community members who can help if a severe storm warning is issued. Consider that you may need help with boarding up windows and doors.
  • Give at least one other trusted person a key to the person’s home. There needs to be at least one person who you trust to stay with or evacuate your loved one if you cannot do it yourself.
  • Be sure to add the names and numbers of persons or agencies that will need to be notified of your loved one’s evacuation. For example, you may need to notify a daily caregiver, the director of the complex in which your loved one resides, and even friends that check in regularly.
  • Don’t forget to plan for the person’s pets. Have a plan ready so that you very quickly move the person and their pet if needed.

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