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How to prepare for emergencies and natural disasters: 3 important steps for older adults

July 21, 2023
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From floods to wildfires, hurricanes to tornados, disasters happen. At CCA, we want to help you prepare for these emergencies, and the best time to do that is before a disaster occurs.

Emergencies and natural disasters can impact both your short-term safety and your long-term health. So, disaster preparedness includes keeping you and your family safe from immediate danger. It also includes advance planning to address what happens after the disaster. Whether you shelter in place or evacuate to a safer area, being prepared can help you maintain your health and quality of life in the aftermath.

For example, a loss of electricity can bring about negative health outcomes for older adults with chronic conditions such as diabetes, cancer, or heart disease. A disaster can impact access to health care, the ability to take medications on schedule, and the ability to use necessary medical equipment.

 The need for mental health services also rises following a natural disaster. Losing one’s home is incredibly difficult and can contribute to anxiety and depression.

To help you plan, we’ve created this guide, so you are prepared with the necessary essentials and communications when emergencies arise.

Develop a Care Plan

If you require medical attention during a disaster, having vital medical information with you and readily available can help your care team when treating you. This list is not only helpful in a disaster, but any time you are seeing a healthcare provider.

While having this information in your phone or device is convenient, having a written plan during an emergency is crucial. Your plan should include the following:

Communication and Directions

During an emergency, having the information you need at your fingertips can help ease some of the stress and fear. Advance preparation will help ensure you are able to stay in touch with and connected to loved ones and neighbors.

Create an Emergency Kit

When a natural disaster or other crisis happens, having an emergency kit ready to go is so important for your safety and well-being. When creating an emergency kit, we encourage you to focus on what you need to maintain your quality of life and support your overall wellness for any length of displacement, from a few days to long-term. That means thinking about your physical health but also your mental health—be sure to pack items that can ensure both safety and comfort, including:

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