Emergencies are difficult enough to prepare for, but what if you need to keep safety in mind for a beloved senior that’s living independently? Your loved one should be an empowered senior prepared for emergency — especially natural disasters like earthquakes or fires in the Palos Verdes Peninsula area. Get your senior prepared for emergency situations before the unthinkable happens. You can help them make plans for different emergency scenarios, build a kit, prepare financially, and stay well-informed during a crisis.

Make a Plan

Here are several ways to get your senior prepared for an emergency:

  • Figure out the best fire evacuation routes in your loved one’s home. Create a simple drawing or printed graphic with routes and fire extinguisher symbols that can be posted on a wall or door as a reminder. Do drills.
  • Practice “Stop. Drop. Hold on.” for an earthquake, and “Stop. Drop. Roll.” for a fire.
  • If your senior loved one owns pets, make sure there’s a decal in a window to let emergency personnel know the types of pets and how many need help inside. If evacuating, will area emergency shelters allow pets?
  • Sign your loved one up for Wandering Support since loved ones with Alzheimer’s or dementia may wander off during a chaotic event.
  • Does your loved one go through routine medical treatments like dialysis? Work with other caregivers and medical providers to find out where treatment back up centers are located if evacuated.

Build a Kit

Ideally, you’ll want to build a kit with at least three days of essentials and first-aid supplies for your loved one. It should also have a list of current medications. This kit should be placed in a tote that you, your loved one, or caregivers can grab and go with if evacuated.

Pack:

  • Extra medications (syringes if applicable)
  • Water
  • Non-perishable food items, multi-tool, and can opener
  • First-aid kit with triple antibiotic, over-the-counter pain relievers, gauze, bandages, alcohol wipes, etc.
  • NOAA radio
  • Phone charger
  • Whistle
  • Flashlight
  • Backup eyeglasses, hearing aids, or oxygen
  • Everyday items like hand sanitizer, adult diapers, shampoo/conditioner, bar soap, toilet paper, and toothbrushes
  • Particulate respirator, an N95 or above
  • Batteries
  • Cash
  • Essentials for service animals or pets
Rescue dog and cat in case of emergency

Financial Preparedness

Mail service may be disrupted — if not fully stopped — during a natural disaster. Make sure your loved one’s social security, pension, or annuity checks are being direct deposited. However, keep some cash and coins with the emergency to-go kit in case card readers are offline.

Be Informed

As a family, figure out how you’ll communicate during an emergency. Do you live close enough to drive to your loved one’s home? What caregiver or neighbor can help check in on your loved one if you can’t? Leave an extra key with this trusted person — just in case.

Despite your best efforts, you may not be able to reach your loved one during an emergency. Jammed area phone lines may make communication difficult. Prepare for this possibility by:

  • Choosing a primary out-of-town contact (and a secondary if the primary is unreachable) that you can both call and leave updates with.
  • Getting a NOAA weather radio so your senior can stay up-to-date on natural disasters or hear important announcements.
  • Writing down emergency telephone numbers as well as primary emergency contacts so they’re easy to find.

Make Health Information Available

Display a health information card or sheet prominently in the home in case a first responder needs to enter the home to provide aid to your elderly parent. The refrigerator door is a good location. Our past article provides the specifics you should consider including.

To keep your senior prepared for emergency, check out more resources at Ready.gov.

If your senior loved one needs in-home assistance, A Peaceful Way Home Care can help them so they can stay in their home independently. We’ll work with you to proactively prepare for your loved one’s unique needs in case of emergency situations.