Last week we witnessed a lot of events that caused the loss of life, injuries, and millions in damages to property.
The Boston blasts, the West Texas explosion and the northern floods have all exacted a toll on our country. In our area we have been very fortunate, but this is tornado season. From March through June is when tornados most frequently occur.
Southeastern Indiana also has the potential for floods, as the spring rains overflow our tributaries, and earthquakes and many other potential disasters are lurking around the corner.
It is not a matter of if, but when the next disaster event strikes our area.
Are you and your loved ones ready?
With an aging population in the United States, there has been much talk about the situation in Texas regarding the nursing home that was affected by the blast. I have been asked what nursing homes do in the event of imminent danger to their residents.
Every nursing home has a plan for evacuation. This includes accounting for every patient’s specific medical needs as well as seeing that they have a place to go. If you have a loved one in a nursing home you should have access to these plans.
But what about the senior citizen that still lives at home. They have special needs that should be addressed in the event of a disaster. Many senior citizens do not drive anymore so they are reliant on others to get anywhere.
The older population generally has multiple medications, therefore it is important to make sure they take them wherever they are going.
At the very least, it is important to know what medications they take. In the event of being evacuated quickly, information like drug, dosage, pharmacy, and doctor are extremely important. In the disaster situation it is easy to forget what drugs you need. Pharmacies keep good records, but you don’t want to be totally reliant on them.
Another concern with senior citizens is that they can become disoriented more easily. They are used to having a steady routine. When that routine is changed it can have a negative effect on their mental health. This can become more pronounced if they memory issues.
If your loved one is able to stay home after a local disaster, make sure they have one gallon of water per day per person and adequate food.
The power may be off so food needs to be something that can be eaten without being cooked.
Also make sure they are going to have warmth in the winter and a cool place in the summer. Remember how hot it got last summer? Make sure someone is able to check on them at least once a day. If you don’t live close by, ask one of their neighbors to help.
If you are the caregiver for a senior citizen it is important that you have a discussion with them.
Plan for evacuation, their specific medical needs, prescription information, and make sure they have a familiar face near if they are forced to stay in a shelter or are forced to remain in their home.
This conversation should be to enlighten and reassure the senior citizen, not alarm them. People that are prepared have less stress in the event of disaster than those that don’t prepare.
As technology and medical practices continue to improve our population is living longer. We are blessed with our parents and grandparents being a part of the family much longer.
We can learn from their wisdom and experiences. But what they have gained in these categories comes at the loss of physical abilities and sometimes mental capacity. Let’s be there for them.
Remember, it is not if, but when, a disaster strikes! Be Ready!
The American Red Cross is committed to helping people in a disaster situation. We can provide shelter, food and clothing in the event of a disaster. We also work to help people prepare for these disasters. If you would like to get more information regarding disaster preparation, please feel free to contact us.
The Southeastern Indiana Chapter of the American Red Cross covers Dearborn, Ripley, Ohio and Switzerland Counties and is at 539 Main St., Lawrenceburg, IN 47025. Our phone number is 1-812-537-9036.
We also have a satellite office at 639 South Buckeye Street, Osgood, IN 47037. Phone 1-812-689-6308.
The American Red Cross is an organization led by volunteers and is funded totally by donation.
If you would like to learn more about disaster preparedness, take a class such as CPR, volunteer, or make a donation please feel free to contact us.