During natural disasters the elderly have many of the same needs as the general population. The difference being they may not be able to understand what is going on, respond in a timely matter or help themselves if they are injured or effected by the disaster. As a friend or neighbor we can help our elderly survive the next big disaster by following these important, simple steps.
Elderly's Understanding and Responding in a Timely Manner May Be Affected
Many elderly have disabilities that can impair their ability to understand what is going on as well as respond appropriately or in a timely manner to an emergency situation. If your community is alerted of an upcoming disaster such as a hurricane, tornado, tsunami, severe thunderstorm, etc. make it a point to personally talk with your elderly friend or neighbor and make sure that they take the proper precautions. Sometimes this may mean bringing them to your house to ride out the disaster, especially if they will not be able to respond to the emergency in a timely or appropriate manner.
Heatstroke and Hypothermia Common
After a big disaster quite often you may be without power for some time. This means no heating or air conditioning. For the elderly this can be even more detrimental because their bodies can not tolerate being too cold or too hot as long as a younger person. If there are elderly people in your neighborhood that are living alone, make it a point to visit them periodically. This would be wise even if you are just experiencing a hot or cold weather spell. Bringing extra warm blankets or opening a few windows to get a cool breeze going through the house can make a world of difference.
Helping the Elderly With Their Injuries
Checking on your elderly friend or neighbor after a large disaster can potentially save their life! If they have fallen and have suffered any type of serious injuries it is essential to get them medical help as soon as possible. You can help with minor bumps, cuts and scrapes by cleaning them up with your first aid or safety survival kit. I highly encourage everyone to keep a survival kit on hand that includes a first aid kit. Bring this along to your elderly friend or neighbors home so you can treat them if necessary. Older people are prone to thinning of the skin, are more easily bruised and their wounds usually take longer to heal. Take caution when cleaning their wounds or if moving them around.
Unable to Get Nourishment
When a big disaster strikes we are often left without electricity. Unable to use the microwave or stove to cook up meals it makes it quite difficult for the elderly to get nourishment. Not many elderly are able to fire up the BBQ or have other means of providing for themselves. Many don't want to impose on others and will not ask for help. Please help your elderly loved one's and make sure that they are provided with the proper food to eat. Even if that means talking to your neighbors and alternating bringing meals over.
Helping the elderly survive a big disaster can mean the difference of their life and death. They oftentimes need the help of others to get them through a catastrophic event, but may be reluctant to ask for it. Reach out to the elderly in times of need. Growing old can be difficult, but if you have someone to help you through the difficult times, such as a big disaster, it can make life a much better place!
Family Disaster Survival Kits and Supplies I believe that it is important to make sure that everyone, including the elderly down the street, are prepared for an emergency or disaster before one occurs. Stocking up on all of the essential disaster survival supplies can mean the difference of life and death.