Summer is upon us, and while Philadelphia isn’t known for dealing with severe storms, preparing for the worst can help save lives in case of an emergency like a power outage, flooding, or heavy winds. The Atlantic hurricane season runs from June 1st to November 30th, so it’s quite possible for the Mid Atlantic states to experience turbulent weather during summer and fall. And if you’re caring for elderly, disabled, or chronically ill adults, it’s important to have a disaster plan in place to keep your loved ones safe. 

Here’s more information on how caregivers can prepare for summer storms. 

5 Ways to Keep Seniors Safe During Severe Weather

1. Document Everything 

In the event you become separated from your loved one, it’s critical to have their care instructions in writing, especially if your loved one has cognitive disabilities. Detailed instructions on their medical needs, where to find specific supplies, daily living needs and preferences, and best practices for communicating with them or calming them down should be placed in writing and given to trusted individuals such as close relatives, friends, and health care professionals. It’s also a good idea to place these instructions in easily accessible areas such as on the fridge door. 

2. Create a List of Emergency Contacts

Regardless of severe weather conditions, caregivers should ensure a list of emergency contacts is kept in a noticeable area such as a kitchen counter, fridge, or office desk. Numbers should include close relatives, friends, health care professionals, and local emergency numbers (police department, fire department, hospital, poison control, etc).

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When making this list, inform contacts you are designating them as an emergency contact so they are prepared to act in the case of an emergency. It’s also helpful to ensure at least one of these contacts has an extra key to your loved one’s residence if they live on their own, and that there is a substitute caregiver in place if necessary. 

With that being said, if they live in a residential home or have a home caregiver, the facility should have a disaster plan in place if a severe storm is approaching. 

3. Gather Important Documents & Records

Ensure identifying information such as a birth certificate, social security card, driver’s license, and other such documents are located in a convenient place such as a locked filing cabinet (and make sure someone has a key!). Other records such as clinic and hospital records or a list of medications and allergies should also be easily accessible in the event of an emergency and potential evacuation.  

4. Assemble an Emergency Preparedness Kit

If you’re aware of an incoming storm, purchase extra supplies in case the power goes out and/or stores are closed. This includes basic needs such as cases of water, toilet paper, soap, non-perishable foods, medications, medical supplies like an extra oxygen tank, a first aid kit, blankets, and pet food and medications (if they have a pet). Other sources of supplies may include neighbors, designated local shelters, or resources such as the Emergency Prescription Assistance Program

For a detailed checklist of supplies to gather, refer to these guides from the American Red Cross and the PA Department of Human Resources

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5. Consider a Relocation Area 

If you believe you are in danger whether or not there is a mandatory evacuation order in place, it’s best to evacuate and have a plan in place as soon as possible. Prepare transportation and lodging arrangements in advance to guarantee relocation is possible. For instance, take account of the nearest emergency shelters, especially those that can accommodate individuals with disabilities. If your loved one can travel longer distances and it’s safe to travel, then reach out to emergency contacts that live in safer areas. 

In the meantime, caregivers should make certain their cars have a full tank of gas in case you need to leave quickly. 

For more information on local Pennsylvania emergency resources, caregivers can look to these guides:

If you or your senior loved one needs assistance with emergency services, TruCare Homecare can step in and help. TruCare Homecare is a women-owned and family-operated business centered on providing compassionate in-home senior care in the greater Philadelphia area. Our facility offers adult day care services in addition to home health care services such as meal preparation, grooming, mobility assistance, and transportation.

Caregivers are dedicated to creating meaningful bonds with clients and their families, offering tailored care plans that best benefit individuals’ health care needs. For more information about our services, call our office at 610-878-2273 or fill out a contact form.