What Would You Pack If Given One Hour?

Time Can Be Short – Are You Ready In Case Of A Disaster?

During and after a natural disaster we hear a lot about preparedness kits and being prepared if a natural disaster occurs in your area. Are you prepared? Do you have a disaster plan for your family? Do you have a disaster plan for your aging parents? Specifically aging parents who live distant from you?

Photo of couple arm-in-arm while looking at a scene of destruction of homes

Photo: Unsplash

Would Your Parents Be Ready To Leave In A Hurry?

Gulp! Yes, a disaster plan for mom and dad is another thing that adult children should consider. During a disaster, “the difficulties for aging parents are likely to exceed what a younger and more able-bodied person could do under severe weather circumstances,” says Carolyn Rosenblatt, Co-Founder of the AgingParents(TM) website.

Ways To Prepare

In a fight-or-flight situation our brains can be quickly overwhelmed. Preparing in advance is key to ensuring important things aren’t overlooked and providing reassurance during a disaster. This is a short list of considerations for your parent’s preparedness plan:

  • Go Bag. Have a bag packed and ready to go at a moment’s notice. Or make a list of essential items to be grabbed quickly if an evacuation is needed. Include things like: medicines, clothing, phone chargers, phone numbers (don’t rely on your phone), food and water. Visit FEMA’s website for a more extensive list.
  • Flashlights or lanterns with fresh batteries. Check items are in working condition before they are needed with new batteries nearby.
  • Put important papers in a safe, fire and flood-proof place.
  • Have a list of neighbors and friends nearby your parents whom you can call on to help.
  • Evacuation location. Have a plan of places your parents can go to evacuate: friends who live on the other side of town, a relative in a nearby state, etc.
  • For more details see this article in Forbes.

How To Help After A Disaster

If your parents are displaced and you are suddenly caring for them here are somethings to consider and do:

  • Contact their physicians and get lists of medications
  • If you are unsure of the care routine, get a professional evaluation from a geriatric care manager
  • Encourage your parent to talk about being displaced from their home. This has been a traumatic event.
  • Look for opportunities for your parents to make social connections: senior center, church, etc.
  • Devote time for yourself. This will be a stressful time for everyone, take care of yourself too. Many of the tools used by caregivers can apply as well.

Disasters are frightening and can make you feel out of control but with some planning you and your aging parents can be better prepared to face a disaster if it comes.

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