Emergencies and disasters can strike anywhere and anytime without warning. These situations can become a challenge as they push you to your limits while you fight for your safety and survival. But who really needs to be prepared for future disasters? Is everyone equally at risk? According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), senior citizens are one of the most vulnerable populations when a disaster strikes.
The Elderly is More VulnerableThere are a variety of reasons why the elderly is more vulnerable than most in disaster situations. Some of the obvious explanations is that older people with physical limitations or are mentally impaired will have problems understanding instructions in keeping themselves safe and secure. If an elderly has a mobility impairment, he or she will have difficulty when evacuating, standing in line or resting inside a crowded shelter. People in wheelchairs, and those using canes and walkers will also be unable to climb stairs. Moreover, elderly people are also more susceptible to illnesses when subjected to extreme temperature changes and stress during disasters. Add to these are the social and economic limitations that hinder their ability to adequately prepare for disasters; it is no wonder that the elderly desperately need a guide to help survive future disasters.
In order to fill this need, here are some of the most common and invaluable tips for the elderly to survive future disasters.
Staying Alert Can Save Your LifeElderly people can sometimes find it difficult to remain aware and responsive to their surroundings especially during disaster situations. To address this issue, you can get convenient alarm systems designed to aid your elderly loved one in any future predicaments. With this type of alarm system, senior citizens can be notified of a possible emergency in advance. Home security and wireless emergency response systems are also beneficial for older adults since they can remain safe inside their homes should the power run out during thunderstorms and blizzards.
Prepare Ahead of Time in Case of DisastersWe all know that planning ahead is always a good idea. Disasters can happen at any moment and putting together a basic disaster supplies kit is a great way to prepare for forthcoming predicaments. A basic supplies kit should include food, water, medicine and other essential items. As the American Red Cross suggests, disaster kits should contain enough supplies for at least three days. You should also store your supplies in convenient containers that are easy to carry while having enough space to hold all your necessities. Labeling equipment such as wheelchairs, canes and walkers is also important so you don’t lose them when disaster strikes. In addition, keeping your kit updated is another crucial tip to prepare yourself for future disasters. Make sure to check the expiration dates of your food and medications as well as replace batteries as needed.
Now You’ve Got a Kit, What You Need is a PlanDisasters can strike so fast you may not have time at all to act; but when you have a ready-made plan for emergency situations, reducing anxiety and staying calm and collected will no longer be a problem. Support equipment, such as wheelchairs and walkers, and vital records and documents should be accessible in case you need to evacuate your home. Another indispensable tip is to know where the most convenient escape routes are, as well as the designated meeting places for you and your friends and family so you won’t get lost during an emergency.
A Support Network is Always a Good ThingAs part of your survival plan for future disasters, you should always make a point to keep your lines of communication open. You need to be able to contact, and be contacted, by your family and friends at all times during emergency situations. This is very important so they know you are safe and can meet you in safer locations. American Red Cross recommends that senior citizens should develop a support network of close and trusted people during emergencies. This network can be a mutual arrangement where both of you check in on each other. You can decide to exchange important keys or show them where your emergency supplies are kept along with other agreements to ensure your safety.
Be Involved in Your Community’s Disaster PlansAlong with having a great support network, you should also be involved in your community’s disaster management plans and procedures. This is so you know how your community can help you during emergency situations. You can also volunteer to take part in their programs. For example, you can make an arrangement with a neighbor to help you evacuate and transport you to a safer location. By being an active part of your community, you can increase your chances of survival when future disasters occur.
If You Know the Hazard, You Know the SolutionWhat are the types of disaster or emergency situations that are most likely to happen in your area? To adequately prepare yourself for future disasters, you should find out what type of hazards your community is more prone to. Are you near an earthquake zone? Do floods usually occur around your home when there are typhoons? Is your area frequently hit by tornados? Preparing for a disaster that your area is vulnerable to is one of the key ways to lessen risks during forthcoming predicaments.
Disaster Has Struck, What Do You Do?What you need to do to keep yourself out of harm’s way depends on the type of emergency situation you are facing. Keep in mind that you should always be aware and make it a point to listen to announcements through your television or radio regarding an emergency situation. If you are up against a harsh thunderstorm or an extreme blizzard, you will be advised to remain at home. This means that you should stay where you are and keep yourself as safe as possible until the storm passes or you are told to evacuate. On the other hand, you will be asked to evacuate your home if your area is experiencing a wildfire, flood or a tornado. During these situations, you should always lock your home before leaving. When you arrive at the shelter, notify the management about your needs such as food, water, and first-aid.
Remember that the Disaster Will SubsideIt is very understandable for people, especially senior citizens to be distressed when facing traumatic scenarios such as a disaster. Whenever an emergency situation occurs, you may experience emotional, physical, mental, and possibly spiritual stress that can lead to more problems for you and the people around you. These reactions could include headaches, insomnia, irritability, depression and disorientation. Being prepared for this as you remain calm and collected can reduce your anxieties and stay positive. Keep in mind that while you are inside your home or community shelter, you are safe from harm during these tough times and can always get back up to live your life to the fullest.
What You Do Makes a DifferenceWhatever plan you make on how to survive future disasters, know that all your efforts count. When you’re encountering an emergency situation, having a plan will let you stay focused and alert so you can do what’s necessary to care for yourself. Take responsibility for your safety by remaining aware of your surroundings. With a solid disaster plan, you will be more capable of handling circumstances that will come your way and remain safe and secure at all times.
Aby League is a qualitative researcher and a passionate writer. She is an innovator and technology enthusiast. She has been writing about health, psychology, home improvement and technology. You can see more of her articles on Elite Daily. To know her more, follow her on Twitter.