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WELLNESS SPOTLIGHT: Seniors need special preparedness for disasters

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Tornadoes, floods and fires, though not every day occurrences, can be deadly. That is why it is important to be prepared in advance, especially those with special needs, including seniors. The three general steps that anyone should follow are the following: Get a kit; Make a plan; Be informed.

The first step in preparing for a disaster is making an emergency supply kit. When gathering supplies, it is a good idea to have enough to last for at least three days. Some of these supplies include medications, blankets, and loved ones’ contact information. Store the supplies in a backpack, or something else light and easy to carry. Also, it is important to make sure the supplies that can go bad, such as food and medications, are up-to-date at all times.

The next step is making a plan. If a plan is in place when disaster strikes, the people affected will know what to do. Families and close friends may want to sit down to discuss their own plans with one another. When there is a disaster, seniors should have caregivers check on them by phone or, if possible, in person.

There are other parts of planning ahead. Make copies of important documents, including financial statements, driver’s license, and wills. If seniors need wheelchairs or walkers, be sure to have plans on how they will safely evacuate on their own if need be. Anyone with special needs should have backup people to help them in disasters if their caregivers aren’t available.

The final step is to be informed. This involves being knowledgeable about disasters that are most likely to strike your community. Notification methods include local radio, National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) weather alerts and the local Emergency Alert System (EAS). In case of emergency situations, some communities have evacuation and response plans, and designated shelters, and everyone should know about them.

Marie E. Littrell is the Administrator of Park View Meadows, assisted living by Americare, in Murfreesboro. She can be reached at 615.907.5800 or murf@americareusa.net.

Tagged under  disasters, marie littrell, meadows, park, prepare, seniors, storms, view

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