Seniors – are you ready for a hurricane or flooding?

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As hurricane season begins, we all need to be ready with a plan should a major storm head our way. This is important for us as well as making sure family members not living with you are organized. Home Instead Senior Care recommends using the following checklist to get ready for potential weather emergencies:

•  Tune in. Stay abreast of what’s going on through your local radio or television station. We haven’t been hit by a huge storm lately but that doesn’t mean it can’t happen.

•  Take stock. Make sure you know how you would manage yourself should you be required to evacuate. Then make sure local loved ones, particularly those using canes, walkers or wheelchairs, know what their plan is and can execute it.

•  To go or to stay? When deciding if you are going to evacuate, older adults should go sooner rather than later. By waiting too long, things get much more complicated should they need assistance.

•  Make a plan. Develop a course of action that everyone buys into. A plan is no good if Uncle Phil absolutely refuses to leave his house that he has lived in for 82 years. Remember to include key people in your plan – such as neighbors, friends, relatives and professional caregivers – who could help if needed.

•  More than one way out. Ideally, everyone should develop at least two escape routes: one to evacuate their home and one to evacuate their community. This gets problematic when we live on one of our many islands. All the more reason to go early rather than wait.

•  Meet up. If you live near your older parents or aging friends, set up a place to meet should something happen that necessitates evacuation. This could be a coffee shop, hotel, gas station, school parking lot, anyplace that is fairly easy to remember and get to. It should also be past any possible choke points in terms of driving. So if you live on St. Helena, don’t set up a meeting place on Lady’s Island. Get over that bridge first, and then think about a place to meet. Have a dummy drill at least twice a year.

•  Get up and Go Kit. Have an easy-to-carry bag or suitcase in which you can put some extra clothes, toothbrush etc. Assume you will be away for potentially a week. This is not a time to worry about what matches what. Put it in the suitcase and go. In the garage, you should have three days of non-perishable food and water with an additional four days of food and water readily accessible at home. Have at least one gallon of bottled water per person per day. Refresh and replace your supplies at least twice a year. And don’t forget a blanket and paper products, such as toilet paper. If you are relying on a generator, make sure it is up and running with extra gas available should you need it.

•  Pack extras and copies. Have at least a one-month supply of medication on hand at all times. Store other important documents in a waterproof protector including copies of prescriptions, car title registration and driver’s license, insurance documents and bank account numbers, and a spare checkbook. Also pack extra eyeglasses and hearing-aid batteries. Label every piece of important equipment or personal item in case they are lost.

•  Your contact list and their contact list. Compile a list of important contacts, including the doctors and other important healthcare professionals you both need. The information can be recorded and kept in a free Home Instead Senior Emergency kit, available at www.senioremergencykit.com

•  If you can’t be there to help your aging parents, enlist the help of family or friends who live nearby them, or contact a professional caregiving company.

•  And don’t forget your pets. They need to go with you. So when planning, make sure they are included.