By Toni King
A question for Toni:
“We are new to the Houston area and Hurricane Harvey absolutely stressed my wife because her 84-year-old mother is living in an assisted living facility and we live over 10 miles away from her.
“What can we do to be prepared for another hurricane or an emergency for the elderly should happen in this area?
“We are concerned the assistant living facility does not have an evacuation plan and I cannot find one online.”
Cindy from Cypress area
Hurricane season officially started on Friday, June 1 and will not end until Friday November 30. The deeper the season goes, it seems the storms get stronger.
Everyone should have a family disaster readiness plan for hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquakes and/or all types of natural disasters. For seniors or those that are disabled, this is especially crucial for their survival because many are energy or technologically dependent for life support or ongoing medical treatment.
Here are a few questions, to help you prepare for nearly any disaster or hurricane.
- Do I stay or go? This will depend on where you live either in the city or in the country. When living in the city, leave early because during many storms there have been massive traffic jams which took 36-48 hours of waiting on the highway to get out of that area. Please leave early to avoid serious delays and running out of gas on the highway.
- a) Make sure you have a sufficient supply of prescriptions and always bring your list of current prescriptions for yourself or any family member.
- b) Have a copy of medical records for those with critical medical conditions such as your mother-in-law’s. Keep the medical records in a safe place that you can get to immediately when evacuating.
- c) Advise your family members where the information is located.
- d) Have a backup plan in case you are not in town for the emergency.
- Do I have access to clean water? If you do not have access to clean water, then any crisis becomes very critical in a couple of days. Remember, you may not have access to a grocery store due to the type of disaster you are in or supplies may be depleted.
- Do I have adequate food supply? Most households have a few days of food already available, but the best way to stock up on additional food and supplies is to add a little bit each week. Remember, during a crisis the power may be out, so cook your frozen & refrigerated food first.
- Do I have enough cash on hand in case the ATMs are not working? Remember to take your check book. ATMs may not be operating. Make sure you have your driver’s license or ID to cash a check.
- Does my family know where to meet? It is important that all family members and loved ones know where to meet in a disaster. My family’s initial meeting place if we happen to be separated in the Houston area is Whataburger in Sealy on I-10 and Hwy 36.
Last year, Hurricane Harvey devastated Texas and America does not take storms or any natural disasters for granted. I remember the news during Tropical Storm Allison in June 2001, when 18-wheelers were floating down I-10 because the water was so high. It is at that time I learned how to get prepared!
Toni King, Medicare Advocate, Founder/CEO of American Baby Boomers Society and author of the 2018 Medicare Survival Guide® Advanced edition which is available at the ABBS4U.com or ToniSays.com. If you have any Medicare questions, please feel free to reach out to Toni at 844-250-8664 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.