Hurricane season prompts reminder about disaster safety prep for seniors


HORRY COUNTY, SC (WMBF) - The local Home Instead Senior Care office has developed a disaster safety preparation checklist that is designed to help keep seniors safe when disaster strikes.

As hurricane season begins, senior care experts are encouraging families to prepare their senior loved ones for severe weather emergencies and the possibility of evacuation.

"We know that a disaster can be deadly for some seniors because of physical and other limitations," said Doug Williams, owner of Home Instead Senior Care® franchise office serving Georgetown and Horry counties. "It's important for families to talk with their senior loved ones now and begin preparing in advance for any kind of emergency that could threaten their health or safety."

Williams recommends using the following checklist as you help your older adult get ready for potential weather emergencies.

Home Instead Senior Care's Disaster Prep Checklist for Seniors:

Tune in.  Contact the local emergency management office to learn about the most likely natural disasters to strike your area.  Stay abreast of what's going on through your local radio or television station.

Take stock.  Decide what your senior can or can't do in the event of a natural disaster.  Make a list of what would be needed if a disaster occurred.  For example, if your loved one is wheelchair-bound, determine an evacuation strategy ahead of time.

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.  Schedule 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.

Meet up.  Designate a place to meet relatives or key support 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 of 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. And don't forget a blanket and paper products, such as toilet paper.

Pack extras and copies.  Have at least a one-month supply of medication on hand at all times.  Store 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 a spare checkbook.  Also pack extra eyeglasses and hearing-aid batteries.

Your contact list. Compile a list of important contacts, including the senior's support network, doctors and other important healthcare professionals. The information can be recorded and kept in a free Home Instead Senior Emergency kit, available at

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 care giving company.

Founded in 1994 in Omaha, Nebraska, the Home Instead Senior Care network is the world's leading provider of non-medical in-home care services for seniors, with more than 1,000 independently owned and operated franchises providing more than 50 million hours annually of care all around the world.

Local Home Instead Senior Care offices employ more than 65,000 CAREGivers worldwide who provide basic support services – assistance with activities of daily living, personal care, medication reminders, meal preparation, light housekeeping, errands, incidental transportation and shopping – which enable seniors to live safely and comfortably in their own homes for as long as possible.

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