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Emergency Preparedness for older adults

...part of the extended info series on How to prepare your Personal Emergency Plan | this page is also accessed via bit.ly/SeniorPreparedness

Emergency Preparedness for older adults

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Emergency Preparedness is not just for the young, especially when it involves specific health and medical needs.

Older adults can easily prepare for all types of emergencies and disasters with a little thoughtful planning and coordination with carers, family, friends and neighbours ahead of time. 

Emergencies or Disasters can strike quickly and without any warning. They can force you to leave your neighborhood or prevent you from leaving your home. Local emergency services may not be able to reach you right away. What would you do if basic services – water, gas, electricity, telephone – were cut off? Knowing what to do is vital!

Whether you live independently, with family members or friends, now is the perfect time to develop or review your preparedness plan and put together the right Emergency Kits that include all the items necessary to meet your needs.

flood evacuation
1. ASSESS - Special Needs, Medication and Emergency Preparedness

During an emergency or disaster, the medicines you depend on everyday will be crucial to your health and safety. With just a few simple steps you can make sure that your most important medical needs are met.

  • talk with your GP or healthcare provider about receiving extra medical supplies for you to keep as part of your emergency preparedness
  • include the following (as appropriate) into your Emergency Kit to cover minimum 10 days
  • checklist and supplies of all medications you use including over the counter drugs
  • checklist, supplies and equipment necessary for your medications i.e. alcohol wipes, syringes, test equipment, ice or other coolants for medications that need low temperatures
  • additional medications such as anti-diarrhea, antacids, laxatives, rehydran etc.
  • list of make, style and serial numbers of your medical devices, i.e. pace makers, pumps, monitors and accommodation devices
  • extra batteries
  • hearing and vision aids are also important: spare hearing aids, prescription glasses and contact lenses (cleaning solution) even if they are not your latest prescription and sunglasses are a must 
  • include other important medical-related documents such as:
  • doctor’s and pharmacy’s contact information.
  • health insurance information, i.e.policy and claim numbers
  • blood type and any allergies.
  • medical history and current conditions.
  • copies of prescriptions for medications and required doses.
  • documents identifying any disability or access and functional need


2. PREPARE - Basic steps for better Preparedness  

Basic steps for better preparedness:

  • stay informed, tune in to radio or television every day for current events and weather updates
  • learn about your community’s emergency plans from your local council (or see Gov UK Preparing for emergencies: find out about local plans ) and talk to them about your special needs
  • make your own personal emergency plan; use our free template, lists and scenarios
  • create a network of neighbors, relatives, and friends to aid you in an emergency
  • make a list of emergency phone numbers and keep it next to every phone and on your fridge
  • prepare two types of emergency kit (see Why do I need an Emergency Kit)
    • a Go Bag containing essentials to be used in case of immediate evacuation
    • an Emergency Preparedness Kit to provide supplies for sheltering-in-place
  • make (paper and digital) copies of all your important documents (medications, mortgage, insurance, bank, IDs etc) and put them in a waterproof bag into your Go Bag. Keep originals in a safe place outside of your home
  • take digital photos of your most valued possessions, email them to yourself or put them on a CD or USB for insurance identification purposes
  • check and keep your insurance cover up-to-date
  • if you have a pet, check Disasterpreparedness with Pets
  • practise and check your emergency plan, keep your supplies updated


 3. STAY SAFE during an Emergency or Disaster

  • keep informed, tune in to local radio and TV
  • follow guidance issued by the emergency services
  • keep up morale, seek and give support to others (see also Resilience Blog); stay in touch with family and friends as much as possible 

Many older adults can be an asset during a disaster. Having lived through six, seven or more decades, they have probably experienced more than one disaster. Their experience, wisdom and mental as well as emotional resilience can help others and provides reassurance and continuity to those that are frightened or depressed by events.



  • note safe drug use after a disaster i.e. drugs exposed to excessive heat or unsafe water (FDA



 thank you for sharing!

source: http://www.swansea.ac.uk/media/t4_5348745989386864548.jpg

source: http://i.dailymail.co.uk/i/pix/2013/12/26/article-2529138-1A485FDD00000578-661_964x489.jpg


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source: http://www.helpage.org/silo/images/blogs/_1400579708.jpg





Select sources: - our Blog on this topic; UNISDR Prevention Web: Disasters can harm older adults long after storms have passed

CDC Preparedness for older Adults and their Caregivers (USA);  Age UK Preparing for bad weather; HPN Protecting and assisting Older People in Emergencies; Evacuation Guide for people with disabilities NFPA; 

HelpAge International: Older People in Emergencies;  Age International Older People in Emergencies;  DEC Older People in Emergencies;

QUT-based Dementia Centre guide to cope with dementia during disasters

Which Emergency Kit is right for you?

standard Emergency Kit | bespoke Emergency Kit 


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