Disaster Planning Tips for Older Adults

Disaster preparedness is an important responsibility for assisted living and residential care providers. While state requirements for disaster preparedness vary, here are some general suggestions adapted from the U.S. Administration on Aging that apply to all older adults:

  1. Develop a communication plan so that the whereabouts and well-being of every person is reported to a key person(s) during a disaster;
  2. Plan how to keep informed of developments in the disaster situation by telephone, cell phone, computer, radio, television, or newspaper;
  3. Identify a meeting place that is reasonably familiar and convenient for everyone
  4. Maintain a supply of personal, health, and home supplies, including a two-week supply of prescription medications, enough ready-to-eat food and water to last three days, first-aid supplies, candles and matches or flashlights, a waterproof container for essential documents, and items needed by older adults and persons with disabilities; and
  5. Prepare a to-go kit that is ready in case of quick departure and includes a flashlight, extra batteries, a battery-operated radio, a first-aid kit, contact lenses or eye glasses, medications, copies of prescriptions, photo identification, copies of essential documents, and a small amount of cash (a maximum of $50)

Click here from more disaster planning tips for older adults from the CDC: http://www.cdc.gov/aging/pdf/disaster_planning_tips.pdf

3 Responses to “Disaster Planning Tips for Older Adults”

  1. Although it is a good practice to set aside a two-week supply of prescription medications, it is close to impossible to do so as almost all Insurance providers (including Medicare/Medicaid) will only refill a prescription when there are only enough doses left for less than 1 week (typically 2-3 days).

  2. In reading the extended article regarding disaster planning, I noticed that including duct tape as part of the emergency plan is not required. It is required in New York but more than likely, was required after 911. We should really rethink this.

    I believe that we should consider requiring duct tape in disaster planning for two reasons:

    When I worked in AL I spoke with a retired fireman who informed me that the fire department had been notified (but weren’t really suposted to be talking about it publically) of the possibility of toxic chemicals being released from the harbor in the bay. The Bay Area is every bit as vulnerable to a chemical assult as New York.

    He said that due to the winds, we would have about 15 minutes to secure our homes/buildings from toxic contamination.

    Another reason to include duck tape is that many of the AL communities are high rises. Having duck tape available in the event of a fire would be usefult to seal doors from smoke in the hallway, and just might buy additional time for those to be rescued who are located on the floors above.

    I am concerned for communities that locate their most vulnerable residents (non-ambulatory-dementia units) on the third floor. EEK!Having recently gone through a home fire, I believe this is a disaster in waiting., especially with the decreased number of scheduled noc shift staff.

    We are in denial about our vulnerability. Many communities are located on the Hayward fault line and they are also near the Jack London Square docks, and Lord forbid, but fire is always a possibility after an earthquake.

    Thank you for posting the critical disaster tips. I really appreciate your highlighting this important topic.

    Barbara Gerber Jones

  3. Donald… very good point. We often ,use utilize whatever the insurance/pharmacy is willing and able to provide.

    Barbara… Thanks for sharing your tips. We agree that disaster preparedness is an important, but all too easily overlooked issue for all of us.

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