Emergency Preparedness Especially For Seniors (Part 2)

 

In the first part of this article, we covered three top priorities for the elderly in case of a large emergency.  Those three were: water (a minimum of a 3 day supply), non-perishable food, and sanitation.  We'll continue this article with other considerations that must be taken when caring for seniors or the elderly to help prepare them in case there is a widespread emergency.

Perhaps listed within the topmost priorities when dealing with a senior citizen would be to have a good supply of any life-saving medicines that they are on.  If they have heart issues, or asthma, for instance, be sure that their supply of medicines do not run so low that they would not be able to be sustained for a couple of weeks.  If there is a widespread disaster of some kind, perhaps utilities would be in running order within a few days, but often accessibility to a pharmacy or drugstore could be impaired.  They will need time to come up with a game plan for how they can refill prescriptions, so be sure that their supply of medicine currently on hand allows them that time so that it does not add extra stress to an already stressful situation.

Temperature control should also be a consideration.  If you live in extreme weather areas (the far north or the far south), be sure that they have the means they need in order to keep their core temperature where it needs to be.  In the far north, where temperatures can go as low as -50, they need to have a propane, fuel oil or wood heat source in case the power goes out. Also be sure that they have an adequate supply of blankets & even a hot water bottle so that they can climb in under covers & heat the bed directly around them to get truly warm.  In the far south, be sure that they have access to water for wetting down towels to place on their neck & also a battery operated fan.  Sometimes extreme temperatures can be just as devastating medically for them as dehydration.  The bodies of aged individuals have a harder time coping.

  Contact with the outside world will become increasingly important.  Often landlines go down during emergencies, so a cell phone may be in order.  If they have a cell phone, a non-electric way to charge it will be necessary.  Various companies make transistor radios with hand-crank charging options for phones. They often have attached flashlights, as well.  The radio itself will become invaluable during an emergency.  Be sure that if you are going to have these available for them to use, that they are aware of how to use them.  Using them several times a week is a good idea so that they do not forget important aspects.

Extra amenities that will be helpful are listed below.  These are simple suggestions that can make life a little more bearable when the pressure is on.  They are not necessary for physical survival, but can be of great help to make the emergency tolerable mentally.

-Chocolate or another favorite snack

-Crosswords or other puzzles to help pass the time

-Hobby items that do not require power

-Photo albums to look through

-Journal

-Books to read

Add other things that you think might be helpful for keeping your loved one calm under pressure.  Put all of these things in an easy to reach location, along with other emergency supplies.  None of these things should take over your life.  Your time or theirs should not be consumed with worry about a disaster.  These are just measures to take to help in various rough patches that can occur during an emergency.  Once you have a decent supply in place, check in about every 6 months to see what has been used, or what might need to be updated or replaced.  No one is every fully prepared for a large emergency, but hopefully these two articles will give you something to think about as you consider the seniors in your life & their safety.

Medical Alert Systems, What, Why & When?

The 21st century is perhaps one of the best times in which a person can grow older.  The health care is better than it has ever been.  Patients have more rights now that they was normal even a few decades ago.  Technology has improved quality & length of life for most elderly people.  That technology has also made it possible for the aging to live on their own or with minimal assistance for longer if they so choose.  One of the most common ways in which it does this is through the use of medical alert systems.

Medical alert systems can help an older adult live on their own, but still feel somewhat secure in case of emergency.  They have a way of contacting someone for help at all times, just in case they need it. Family members feel more secure knowing that their loved one will not have fallen in inclement weather without them being alerted.

There are a variety of brands of medical alert systems available on the market.  Some of them are quite well-known, while others are less so.  Almost all of them involve the patient wearing a necklace or a pendant of some kind that has a button on it that they can use to call for help if they need it.  In years past, these were linked directly to the fire department or ambulance so that if the wearer pushed it, emergency services were paged out immediately.

More recent additions to this technology include the ability to locate the person using GPS, in case they fell in a difficult to find place-such as a basement or a back garden.  They also include automatic fall detection.  If the person falls & is unresponsive, many systems will notify those on their list.

If they are reluctant to pay for expensive emergency services for every fall, they also have systems available that will contact people from their list first, such as a neighbor or relative, before paging out emergency personnel.  This can shorten the time that the person is in a dangerous situation, & also make it less likely that they'll have to spend time in hospital.

Medical alert systems are a wonderful idea for anyone reaching old age, but who is still wanting to live with less assistance, if possible.  It can give everyone involved the peace of mind that they need in order to live life to the fullest!

Security Issues for Seniors

This day and age, the news is ripe with all types of frightening scenarios.  Assaults, breaking and entering, & identity theft are among the top concerns of people living throughout our nation today.  As we age, it can become even more frightening.  Generally speaking, we have less ability to fight back physically & may have less of an understanding of all the rapidly changing technology.  Below, I’ll give you a few things to begin thinking about with regards to security in & away from home & online.

Inside your home.  Prioritize this area of security first since it is closest to your person.  Begin with household security.  Check locks on doors & windows.  Consider installing an extra chain or deadbolt on doors.  Be sure that you check your basement & attic windows to be sure that their secure.  Install lights around the perimeter of your yard & outbuildings.  Well-lit areas deter people with ill intent.  Inside of your house, be sure you have emergency numbers on speed dial on both your landline and your cell phone.  If you are able to install a security system, it may give you peace of mind, but oftentimes in smaller towns, a friendly relationship with your neighbors is a much simpler & better solution to security.  You watch out for them, & they’ll watch out for you.  If you plan to leave for a while, alert a trusted neighbor so they can keep an eye on your place.  Also invest in a couple of light timers.  Put them on different lamps in your home or on a radio in a room you use often so that they’ll go on in the evening & deter thieves.

Away from home.  If you are travelling to heavily populated areas, there are a few things that you can do to keep yourself safe.  First off, remember to keep your car doors locked unless you feel secure in your surroundings.  Survey the area before you get out of the vehicle & only then should you get out.  When you come back to your vehicle survey the area again.  You needn’t be afraid, just use your good sense.  If something doesn’t seem right, be aware.  Women traveling with purses be cautious in larger crowds.  Keep your purse close to your person, & try wrapping the strap around your wrist.  Inside of your purse, you may consider taking pepper spray with you, although if you are robbed, chances are that you’ll never have a chance to use it.  In the event of a mugging, it’s a much safer option to just hand over you purse or wallet and get to a phone to call 911 as quickly as you can.

Online security begins with setting up your accounts.  Any new account that you set up should begin with a strong password. It should include symbols, numbers & letters. Do not use the same password for every account.  You can keep a notebook to track passwords online.  You should also change the password periodically.  Next, look into the settings for the account that you’re setting up.  You can often choose who can see the things that you post on your account, who cannot see it, & what you’d like to be notified of.  If you have all of those areas covered you should have very little trouble with your online accounts.  If you do banking & bill paying online, the settings & notifications are very important.  The bank will notify you based upon the options that you choose.  If there is anything fishy, they will call the number that you put into the account for emergencies & questions.

The purpose of this article is not to scare or coerce, but simply to point out a few areas that require little effort that could have a big impact on your security.  The most important skill to hone is simply awareness.  If you are aware of what is going on around you, you can often prevent anything harmful. 

 

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