Planning for Older Texans

Older Texans are one of the most at-risk groups when a disaster happens. If you fall into this group, or you’re making a plan that includes aging parents or elderly relatives, you’ll have to address a number of age-related issues so that an emergency situation is less challenging.

Are there special health-related issues that have to be considered? A disaster situation might threaten or aggravate the health of an elderly plan member. Create a special contact sheet that has a complete medical history and details important information for emergency/rescue personnel. Make certain a copy is on hand at all times. If you have to evacuate, keep a copy with the elderly plan member in case you become separated. Having a detailed medical history on hand can help medical professionals provide faster treatment and care during an emergency.

Are there special medication needs to consider? If you or an elderly person you’re planning for has a special medication schedule or must take special medications, make sure they’re included in your plan. Do you have a complete list of medications, dosages and times they should be taken? Do you have copies of prescriptions to show emergency/rescue personnel? Do you have someone designated to monitor the dosage schedule and administer medications?

Are there special mobility needs to consider? In an emergency situation, sometimes you have no option but to move to a shelter, another city, or even out of the state. If you or the elderly person you’re planning for has special mobility needs, traveling can create challenges you need to consider. What special travel arrangements will you need to prepare for? Will physical exertion aggravate a preexisting condition? Do you have a collapsible wheelchair on-hand?

Will transportation assistance be needed to evacuate in advance of a hurricane? In Texas, there is a special-assistance registry for people who are unable to evacuate on their own. To arrange for transportation for yourself or a family member, call 2-1-1.It’s important to remember that 2-1-1 is not an emergency number to call during a storm – you must pre-register for evacuation transportation.

For more information about evacuation assistance, visit:

http://www.dads.state.tx.us/hurricane/index.cfm

Does the elderly person you are planning for require special medical equipment? Many older Texans are able to maintain a certain quality of life through the aid of special medical equipment. Some of this equipment may not be available during an emergency, however, because the electricity is out or the equipment can’t be transported. Does special medical equipment limit the mobility or the distance you can travel? Who will be responsible for bringing along the special equipment should you have to evacuate? Do you have spare parts or materials for the equipment in your supplies?

These are just some of the issues you’ll need to consider when making emergency plans that include older Texans. For additional information on planning for aging adults and helpful tips to effectively manage an emergency situation, visit:

http://www.dshs.state.tx.us/preparedness/e-prep_public.shtm#senior