7 Disaster Preparedness Tips for Seniors


As a senior, the prospect of preparing for a disaster may seem daunting. This is especially the case if you have unique health needs or if you live alone. There are ways you can adequately prepare for the worst, though, giving you the peace of mind you need.

Understand which risks affect you

Depending on your locale, a disaster may mean a hurricane, tornado, or earthquake. Understanding the types of disasters you may face helps you prepare for the right one and prevents unnecessary preparedness measures.

If you use a cell phone, you may want to download the FEMA app. It’ll update you if there’s a `disaster on the way in your local area, giving you time to prepare. Alternatively, tune into local TV and radio channels that could broadcast information relevant to your area.

Know who to contact if disaster hits

Is there a relative nearby? Or maybe a friend who you know you can rely on? Facing a disaster alone is less than ideal, which means you should have a point of contact for if one strikes.

An alternative, or addition, to this, is to know which services become available in your area when emergencies happen. For example:

  • Law enforcement agencies
  • Local services that provide shelter
  • Emergency management offices
  • Charities, such as the Red Cross

Keep a list of who you can contact. In an emergency, you may find that Internet access is limited, which means a paper list is essential.

Gather the essentials for a lockdown

Consider what you need to eat, drink, and take in terms of medication for at least three days and keep a supply of them handy. During a disaster, electricity shortages and floods may result in broken refrigerators and a lack of clean drinking water. Therefore, you may want to consider:

  • Food that doesn’t require refrigeration or cooking, plus a can opener to access it
  • Gas stoves and gas canisters, just in case you need to cook
  • Large bottles of clean drinking water
  • A water purification bottle

Strengthen your home

If a lack of electricity would affect your health, you may want to consider a backup generator. Additionally, you can strengthen your home by:

  • Having a cooler handy so you can group food from your freezer and use it for longer
  • Ensure you have lots of blankets for warmth
  • Check that your insurance policy is up to date and appropriate
  • Maintain your home so it’s less likely to encounter extensive damage in a storm

Protect your health needs

Your health needs are unique to you and your home, which means you have a responsibility to form a plan that meets them. For example, if you’re an insulin-dependent diabetic, how and where will you store your insulin so it remains cool?

Other issues you may want to consider include mobilizing around your home if you’re dependent on a stair lift. Do you have a phone upstairs so you can call someone to help you from your property in the event of an evacuation? Could you store food somewhere upstairs so that you don’t have to worry about moving? Consider which barriers may make life difficult and find a way around them.

Create a disaster first aid kit

Following on from your unique health needs, a disaster preparedness first aid kit is essential. This could include:

  • Regular analgesic medicines, such as acetaminophen and Ibuprofen
  • Electrolyte replacement solutions and anti-diarrheal medications
  • Band-aids, dressings, and wound cleaning kits
  • Anti-bacterial hand wash

Aside from the first aid essentials, you should stock up on wind-up radios, flashlights, and whistles. Such items seem simple, but they help you maintain contact with the outside world when disaster strikes.

Ensure you receive payments electronically

Depending on how long the disaster lasts and where it strikes, you may find that accessing your benefits becomes challenging. Although making sure your payments are processed electronically doesn’t always guarantee you’ll receive your money, you’re far less likely to find yourself going without it than if you rely on paper checks.

While emergencies are mercifully rare, failing to prepare means preparing to fail. When you engage in just a few disaster preparedness activities as a senior, you’re less likely to encounter harm to your health and wellbeing when the worst happens.

At Easy Climber, we hope that you or your loved ones never have to face the trauma of a disaster, but you now have the tools to help prepare for the worst.

For tools to help you with your mobility and independence at home, see our line of Easy Climber Stair Lifts and Easy Climber Home Elevators today!