Hurricanes are violent superstorms known for their size, power, and unpredictability.

We have seen this for the last few years right here in Florida as we prepared for the potential, and eventual, onslaught of several hurricanes during the season.

Every year, millions of Americans find themselves at risk during hurricane season, which lasts from June 1st through November 30th. Unfortunately, Older Americans are particularly vulnerable. Taking a few moments to help an aging parent prepare can keep them safe, and able to cope with some of the worst hurricane-related impacts. 

Need ideas on where to start? Let us share four important tips to consider as hurricane season gets underway.

1. Secure Vital Documents. Hurricanes can devastate large areas and completely wipe out homes, businesses, and infrastructure. You may help aging parents by making hard copies of identification documents, and important financial, legal, and health records. Consider storing digital copies, as well. Just a few key items can include:

  • Driver’s license, Social Security card, and passport
  • Medicare, Medicaid, and health insurance cards
  • Recent tax returns, bank statements, retirement accounts, credit card numbers
  • Insurance policies
  • Legal agreements and estate planning documents
  • Passwords and personal identification numbers (PINs)

2. Prepare an Emergency Supply Kit. Core items should include anything that would help an aging parent survive for at least three days, or until emergency responders arrive. Store these items in a waterproof container and develop a checklist specific to your aging parent. Some essentials can include: 

  • Water; one gallon per day per person
  • Food; non-perishable canned items and high-calorie food bars
  • Personal first-aid kit
  • Flashlight with extra batteries
  • Radio with extra batteries
  • Prescriptions medicines, with list of proper dosages and any allergies
  • Cash

3. Develop an Evacuation Plan. Create an evacuation plan tailored to an aging loved one’s needs. Will he or she require physical assistance? Does he or she need durable medical equipment support? Will your aging parent need to relocate to an animal-friendly shelter? These and other questions should be considered long before a hurricane is bearing down. Local government offices can help identify emergency evacuation housing and transportation options. 

4. Create a Support Network. Help an aging parent build a network of support for both during and after a hurricane. This can include family, neighbors, and medical service providers, and consider using various forms of communication methods ranging from cell phone calls to in-person visits. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) offers in-depth communication recommendations that might be helpful. 

We know that storm season can be a scary time. The truth is, however, that pre-planning can make all the difference in having a successful storm season. Do not wait to ask us your questions on planning to care for yourself and your loved ones on this, or any, elder care issue.