Emergency Planning for the Elderly
Older individuals are among the most at-risk when a disaster happens. When making emergency plans, be sure to consider how a disaster situation may threaten or aggravate the health of an elderly person:
- Create a special contact sheet containing a complete medical history and important information for emergency/rescue personnel, such as:
- Emergency contact information
- Health conditions
- Medications and dosages
- Medical provider and pharmacy contact information
- Use of durable medical supplies/equipment such as oxygen
- Any functional and access needs.
- If you or someone you care for is elderly and you have to evacuate, secure a copy of the person’s medical information to them in a sealed pocket or plastic bag. This extra step will assist in reunification and/or provide information to a rescuer/first responder if you are separated during the evacuation.
- If you or someone you care for is an older individual, be sure to consider the following in your emergency planning:
- Any special travel arrangements needed
- Assistive devices for mobility or healthcare needs
- Special diets
- Wound care
- Risk of falling
- Confusion or disorientation
Many older individuals are able to maintain a certain level of independence through the aid of special medical equipment. However, some of this equipment may not be available during an emergency because of a power outage or inability to transport the equipment. In planning for these special needs, consider:
- Does special medical equipment limit your mobility or the distance you can travel?
- Who will be responsible for bringing along the special equipment if you need to evacuate?
- Is the lack of the equipment life-threatening—such as in certain cases with oxygen, dialysis, etc.?