The topic of Disaster Preparedness seems to resonate more with Seniors than with the younger set, partly because of vulnerability due to special age-related issues. Many Seniors live alone and some are dealing with health or mobility issues. Yet most have developed a level of wisdom often accompanied by gray hair. A wisdom that says something bad can really happen because they have lived through at least one disastrous event in their lives.
The mantra of “Get A Kit, Make A Plan, and Be Informed” still applies to the mature crowd and there are many low cost-things Seniors can buy and no-cost plans they can make to avoid that feeling of helplessness and despair.
In my humble opinion, the single most important thing anyone can do to prepare for a disaster is to organize their neighborhood. And it doesn’t cost a cent! Contacting your neighbors, especially fellow Seniors can build a sense of community and camaraderie along with an assurance no one need to face adversity alone. Introduce the topic at the Senior Center, your church group or the quilting club. Collaborating on projects can not only bring some peace of mind, but just may bring some new friends into your life.
According to the American Red Cross it is still your responsibility to know what to do when disaster strikes. Remember, the first responders are going to be overwhelmed and Y.O.Y.O. (You’re On Your Own).
First thing to do is gather enough supplies to get by for several days without going to the store. In the event of an earthquake, or any impending disaster, the stores will sell out within hours and there will be nothing to buy anyway. If you live in a location that requires evacuation, you will want to store your supplies in totes that have wheels. Easier to move that way.
If you require a cane, walker or wheelchair, be sure to label it with your name, address and phone number just in case you and your equipment get separated. Either that or store your supplies with a friend out of the danger zone.
Remember to rotate your supplies. Keep an eye on the “best if used by” dates. Then simply rotate your stored supplies into everyday use. Also shift your batteries, medications and other perishable items before they expire. Keep in mind you may want to stock up on certain medications. Most doctors are sympathetic to your needs regarding planning for disaster and are willing to cooperate by prescribing most maintenance medications in advance. The difficult thing here is to get your insurance to get on board with that concept. So any advance preparations you make in that regard may have to come out of your own pocket. Then be sure to take special care to mind the expiration dates on your meds. I’m told that most medication doesn’t actually “go bad” but it does tend to lose its potency and effectiveness over time. Also try to see your way clear to pick up an extra pair of eyeglasses. Some of us have enough trouble keeping track of our glasses even without a disaster, so adding a pair of drugstore “cheaters” to your kit just might not be a bad idea either.
As always send your questions and comments to firstname.lastname@example.org. Previous columns can be found on my blog at www.disasterprepdave.blogspot.com. Dave Robinson is the author of “Disaster Prep For The Rest Of Us,” available on Amazon, Barnes and Noble and other online booksellers.