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While the thought of a natural disaster is scary, most people don’t make serious emergency plans for themselves or their elderly loved ones. The good news is that there are plenty of things that family caregivers can do to get their aging relative prepared for all kinds of emergencies. Taking the time to plan now will help keep seniors safe during natural disasters.


What Natural Disasters Should Seniors Plan For?

After evaluating the kinds of risks for their particular geographic area, family caregivers can create a basic emergency plan to prepare for the day that the unthinkable actually happens. The most common natural disasters that take place in North America include:

Extreme winter weather


Localized emergencies that can also create the need for an emergency plan include:

House fire
Gas leak
Chemical spill
Thunderstorm damage
Hazardous material spill from industrial accident
Train or aviation accident
Terrorist attack

With an effective senior emergency plan, family caregivers must consider all the aspects that affect their elderly relative to be able to either shelter in place or evacuate.


Considerations for a Senior Emergency Plan


Local emergency services like the police department or fire department are excellent resources for family caregivers who want to make an emergency plan for their aging loved one. Online resources can also help family caregivers create a realistic and robust emergency plan that contains ideas for either evacuation or sheltering in place. Of course, they must consider their aging loved one’s living situation, physical and cognitive ability and who might be with them in the event of a natural disaster.


When an emergency plan calls for an evacuation, family caregivers must consider the elderly adult’s physical abilities. If they are mobile, they may be able to get themselves out of the house, perhaps with the assistance of an elder care provider. However, if they are not mobile, the emergency plan should consider incorporating a sled, wheelchair, pad or other evacuation equipment for them. If they are sheltering in place, the plan must include some kind of alarm signal or other method to alert rescuers that the person inside needs assistance.


Create an Emergency Kit for Elderly Adults


For most people, an emergency kit is essential and family caregivers can have one prepared for their elderly loved one. The emergency kit should have a basic supply of water, food, clothing and any personal necessities like spare medication, a list of emergency contacts, some cash and a medical history paper. Many seniors also need a pet emergency kit to meet the needs of their canine or feline companions.


It’s not enough to create an emergency plan for natural disasters once and then forget about it. Emergency preparedness must be ongoing and reviewed periodically with the aging adult and the elder care provider. Natural disasters always happen without warning, so a senior’s best chance of emerging safe and unharmed often depends on having an excellent emergency plan in place.  



If you or an aging loved-one are considering Elder Care in Columbia, SC, please talk to our caring staff. Call today (803) 223-6173.