Iowa’s most recent derecho had me thinking about how we prepare our aging adults for inclement weather and the aftermath of a storm. The high wind event that left thousands without power and many aging adults without access to oxygen concentrators, refrigeration for insulin and other basic necessities to manage chronic conditions.
There is a significant number of adults who require assistance for everyday activities – 4.9 million to be exact. Nearly 5 million older adults indicate that they require assistance to perform basic activities of daily living including eating, dressing, bathing, and grocery shopping. Aging adults have unique needs that often require creative solutions following natural disasters.
Disasters of all kinds affect older adults disproportionately. Chronic diseases are often managed at home with medications, supplemental oxygen or services to provide cares. Seniors can experience an exacerbation of these chronic conditions due to lack of food and water, extreme temperatures, stress and exposure to infection.
It is crucial for aging adults & their families to create a storm preparation plan to meet these unique needs. A study by the University of Iowa found two-thirds of seniors did not have an emergency preparedness plan and had not participated in a preparedness program.
The creation of a storm preparation plan does not have to be intricate, and can be quite simple by following these 5 steps.
- Point of Contact: Identify who to contact in the event of inclement weather
- Review of Needs: Review necessary medications, procedures and basic activities of daily living
- Meeting Medical Needs: Consider how these needs would be met in the event of inclement weather
- Create Plan: Collaborate with point of contact to create plan of how to meet these needs in the event of a disaster
- Modifications & Equipment: Make modifications & purchase any equipment needed to follow through with plan
A well thought out storm preparation plan can help keep loved ones safe & independent at home. If you would like a free template to help guide your storm preparation plan, download one here.