Older adults face many more obstacles during an emergency than most people: isolation, limited mobility, medical needs, and distrust. Sometimes, seniors rely on a single relative as their main caregiver. But emergencies can happen at any time, and that usual person may not be there. It is important to have a list of other people you can call on and know how to get hold of them.
• Create a chain of contacts. Assign who will contact who during an emergency. Enlist family, friends, and neighbors, if necessary, but do not leave it all to one person. If the one person on the list is injured or incapacitated, you may be left stranded. Keep your list of helpers in your emergency kit.
• There are many communication apps available. Choose one or two, then ask the family and friends on your emergency contact list to download these same apps. They can be used to communicate with each other when phone lines or internet service is down.
• Before an emergency arises, write down a list of everything it takes for you to stay healthy. Include your doctor’s and pharmacy name and contact information, a list of medications any medical devices and medications. Then let the people on your contact list know where the list will be in case you need it.
• A kit. One thing you will need is a kit with all the items you need to survive for a minimum of 72 hours. For a comprehensive list, visit Build A Kit | Ready.gov. The American Red Cross can also help you with information on recommended items.
• Cash. The general rule of thumb is to have at least enough cash to pay for 30 days of essential living expenses.