Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Hurricane Season Is Upon Us. Are You Prepared?

Leon County Senior Care Experts Stress The Importance
Of Disaster Preparedness

Advance Planning Is Often Key To Ensuring The Safety Of Senior Loved Ones

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – When disaster strikes, seniors are often among the most vulnerable victims. That’s why Leon County senior care experts are encouraging family members to work with their senior loved ones to help them prepare for the unexpected.

“Hurricanes and other natural disasters present special challenges for seniors and can prove to be deadly for those who have physical or other limitations,” said Debra Simmons, CEO of Senior Transitions. “Because of those special needs, extra measures may need to be taken to ensure seniors’ safety. It’s vitally important to plan ahead – well before disaster strikes.”

Simmons is encouraging seniors with special needs to register with the Leon County Special Needs Registry ( Those listed on the Registry will be among the first evacuated if catastrophe strikes. Special Needs Shelters will be available during evacuations for:
· Those with special medical needs.
· People whose required care exceeds basic first aid provided at general population shelters.
· Those whose impairments or disabilities are medically stable and do not exceed the capacity, staffing and equipment of the special needs shelter.

“We want to raise awareness about the Registry, so seniors and their family members can take full advantage of the potentially life-saving services that are available to them,” Simmons said. “They may also want to consider making arrangements for pre-admission to a care facility in the event of a natural disaster. To do that, they will need a letter from a physician that states where the senior should be taken during an evacuation. Family members should make those arrangements now and include the physician’s letter in the senior’s survival kit.”

Simmons reminds family members that a senior’s survival kit likely will look a lot different from most standard kits. In addition to food, water and other basics, seniors should be sure to include:
· Contact information for physicians
· At least a one-week supply of prescription and over-the-counter medications
· Copies of all prescriptions
· An extra pair of eye glasses
· Extra hearing aid batteries
· A back-up oxygen tank
· Identification and legal documents
· Contact information for family members

“Try to fit everything in an easy to carry back-pack or bag, and make sure identification, prescriptions and other important documents are sealed in waterproof bags,” Simmons said. “And, most importantly, prepare the kit now. If you wait until disaster strikes, it may be too late.”

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