May is Older Americans Month

The likelihood that you and your family will recover from an emergency tomorrow often depends on the planning and preparation done today. While each person’s abilities and needs are unique, every individual can take steps to prepare for all kinds of emergencies. With May being “Older Americans Month,” this is a good opportunity for the NOVA Community to make sure the Seniors in our families are prepared.

There are commonsense measures Seniors can take to start preparing for emergencies before they happen. If you or someone in your family is older, be sure to include special items in your supply kit in addition to the basic supplies. Below are a few important first steps to make to ensure our Senior family members are prepared for any type of emergency that could impact our Northern Virginia region.

  • Create a network of neighbors, relatives, friends, and co-workers to aid the Seniors in an emergency. Discuss the Seniors’ needs and make sure everyone knows how to operate necessary equipment.
  • If the Seniors takes medicine or use a medical treatment on a daily basis, be sure they have what they need on hand to make it on their own for at least a week. They should also keep a copy of their prescriptions as well as dosage or treatment information. If it is not possible to have a week-long supply of medicines and supplies, keep as much as possible on hand and talk to their pharmacist or doctor about what else they should do to prepare.
  • Seniors should keep specialized items ready, including extra wheelchair batteries, oxygen, catheters, medication, hearing aid batteries, food for service animals, and any other items they might need. Keep a list of the type and model numbers of the medical devices they require. Be sure to make provisions for medications that require refrigeration.
  • Have copies of medical insurance, Medicare, and Medicaid cards readily available.
  • If the Seniors undergoes routine treatments administered by a clinic or hospital, or if they receive regular services such as home health care, treatment, or transportation, talk to the service provider about their emergency plans. Work with them to identify back-up service providers within the area and the areas you might evacuate to. If the Seniors use medical equipment in their home that requires electricity to operate, talk to their health care provider about what can be done to prepare for its use during a power outage.

For additional steps you can take to ensure the Seniors in our families are prepared for emergencies, please visit the following sites for more detailed information: https://www.ready.gov/seniors and http://www.vaemergency.gov/readyvirginia/getakit/older.

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