Florida hurricane season officially began on June 1st and it is an important time to review senior safety issues when preparing for hurricanes and other natural disasters.
Statistics from Hurricane Katrina illustrate the disproportionate danger for elders during natural disasters: Approximately seventy-one percent of the victims in Louisiana were older than sixty, and forty-seven percent of those were over seventy-seven. Fifty-six percent of all the evacuees that were seen by medical units in and around the Gulf Coast were over the age of sixty-five.
Frail elderly and individuals who depend on outside services and resources face the greatest safety concerns. Here are some tips and resources for you to assist elderly loved ones with disaster preparedness:
- Assess the likely dangers in the area and review your local government’s disaster preparedness resources. In Florida, for example, hurricanes are the major concern and each county offers numerous resources for planning. Check out Pinellas County’s Emergency Management site for a variety of checklists, special needs disaster preparedness and more.
- Express your concerns and the seriousness of preparing to your loved ones. Often, this conversation must take place over time and you may want to share examples and specific situations with your loved one. For example, many citizens who have lived somewhere prone to disasters state that they have always been okay in the past and may well survive the event, but neglect to think of the aftermath. What will life be like with no water, limited supplies, no electricity and perhaps very cut off from help, for potentially weeks after a disaster?
- Understand the reality of services being available if one waits too long to prepare or evacuate. Even 911 emergency services often shut down during disasters such as extreme winds. Residents who wait to evacuate and then seek help may be too late to get it. Support services may be shut down for weeks.
Get more resources on senior disaster preparedness and Florida hurricanes and download your disaster kit checklist:
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Call us any time at 727-448-0900 if you have questions or we can assist you with Florida senior safety issues!