“When you’re older, you’ll understand.” “Use your inside voice.” “If you keep making that face, it will freeze that way.” The growing up years are filled with admonishments, rules and parenthood clichés designed to keep kids out of trouble and bring a measure of peace and quiet to a household.
Now it’s time for your inner child to return the favor. August 21 is National Senior Citizen’s Day and the perfect opportunity for you to take some of the phrases and life lessons your elders have given you, and pay it back to prepare them for emergencies.
- “Don’t run in the house!” Running around and grabbing items in the midst of an emergency is not ideal for anyone, especially seniors. Help the older adults in your life create a Ready kit of basic supplies that will allow them to survive on their own for at least 72 hours following a disaster. Remember that their needs are different from yours, and that their kit should include additional items such as extra eyeglasses, extra medications, hearing aids and hearing aid batteries, wheelchair batteries, oxygen, etc.
- “Pay attention!” Encourage seniors to regularly check the weather forecast in their area and react accordingly. For example, this week’s temperatures are expected to rise over 100 degrees across Georgia with heat index values that will approach 110 degrees. During this extreme heat, it is important to drink plenty of water and stay indoors as much as possible. It’s also important for older Georgians to have multiple means of receiving emergency alerts in the event of sudden, severe weather. Purchase a battery-powered NOAA weather radio and add an adaptive device if your parents would benefit from visual or other sensory alerts. Seniors are also becoming more technologically savvy, so if your parent has a smart phone, encourage them to download the Ready Georgia app to receive alerts of bad weather in their area.
- “Don’t make me come in there…” Your parents shouldn’t rely solely on you if a disaster were to strike. Use Ready Georgia’s family communications plan template, working with your parents to make sure that they have several people who can assist them in case of an emergency. When helping them develop their plan, locate the safest place in their home to seek shelter and determine how they would evacuate if the need arose. Make sure they have information on how to meet their medical or prescription needs in the event of their necessary resources become limited or unavailable.
- “Someday you’ll thank me for this.” Don’t be surprised if your parents fuss a bit and try to insist that they can take care of themselves. Gently explain that helping them is helping you, giving you peace of mind that they’re ready for whatever disasters may come their way.