Tropical Storm Isaac: Disaster safety prep checklist for seniors

Staff Writer
Mount Shasta Herald

Older adults may be among the most vulnerable victims when hurricanes and severe storms strike. Home Instead Senior Care has issued a disaster safety preparation checklist to help prepare seniors for weather emergencies.

“We know that a disaster can be deadly for some seniors because of physical and other limitations,” said Matt Cohn, owner of the Home Instead Senior Care office serving East Baton Rouge, West Baton Rouge, Ascension, Iberville and Livingston Parishes. “That’s why we need to take every precaution possible to help them when something like Isaac comes up. Consider this checklist as you help your older adult get ready."

Home Instead Senior Care's disaster prep checklist for seniors:

- Tune in. Stay abreast of what’s going on through your local radio or television. 

- Take stock.  Decide what your senior can or can’t do in the event of a natural disaster.  Make a list of what he or she might need to prepare.  For example, if your loved one is wheelchair-bound, determine how he/she is going to be evacuated if necessary.

- To go or to stay?  When deciding to evacuate, older adults should go sooner rather than later.  By waiting too long, they may be unable to leave if they require assistance.

- Make a plan.  Call a family meeting to develop a plan of action.  Include in your plan key people – such as neighbors, friends, relatives and professional caregivers – who could help. 

- More than one way out.  Seniors should develop at least two escape routes: one to evacuate their home and one to evacuate their community.  The local emergency management office can tell you escape routes out of the community.

- Meet up.  Designate a place to meet relatives or key support network people outside the house, as well as a second location outside the neighborhood, such as a school or church. 

- Get up and “Go Kit.”  Have an easy-to-carry backpack including three days non-perishable food and water with an additional four days of food and water readily accessible at home.  Have at least one gallon of bottled water per person per day.  Refresh and replace your supplies at least twice a year.  And don’t forget the blanket and paper products such as toilet paper.

- Pack extras and copies.  If your senior is evacuating, he or she should bring at least a one-month supply of medication.  Make ready other important documents in a waterproof protector including copies of prescriptions, car title registration and driver’s license, insurance documents and bank account numbers, and spare checkbook.  Also take extra eyeglasses and hearing-aid batteries.  Label every piece of important equipment or personal item in case they are lost.

- Your contact list.  Compile a contact list and include people on a senior’s support network as well as doctors and other important health-care professionals.

- If you can’t be there.  If you’re not living close by to help your loved one, enlist the help of family or friends, or contact a professional caregiving company.

For more information about Home Instead Senior Care, visit

Weekly Citizen of Gonzales, La.