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Each year, as we head toward September, thoughts turn to the end of summer, the start of school and, in my line of work, Emergency Preparedness for seniors. Really, it does.  Especially over the past decade, we have had several reminders of the importance of doing this. And each year during this past decade, the resources and ideas have only improved, so that with just a little research, one can find great ideas and checklists for the “must haves” in the event of an emergency or natural disaster. The last time I wrote about this subject was in September 2011, but this year I thought I would start in August, as it is not too early to start preparing and gathering the items listed below. Credit for this list must be given to the “Power of 50” in the July-August 2012 edition of the AARP Bulletin. This list comes right from there. It is truly the most comprehensive list I’ve seen, and I thought it important to share.

The list is made up of 50 items, divided into four categories.

First Aid Kit: this is the list as provided in the referenced article. The kit can be tailored to your, a family member’s, or your elder’s specific needs.

Prescription medications/equipment – 14 day supply

Sterile gloves – 2 pair

Sterile dressings, adhesive bandages

Multipurpose pocket knife

Soap

Antibiotic ointment

Burn ointment

Eyewash for flushing contaminants

Thermometer

Aspirin/pain reliever

Antacid

Anti-diarrhea medication

Laxative

Sanitation items – toilet paper, plastic bags, hand sanitizer

Toothbrushes and toothpaste

Hearing aids with extra batteries

Spare glasses, contact lenses

Ready-to-Go Container: these are in case of evacuation, and should be taken with you, along with the first aid kit and essential papers.

One gallon of water per person, per day – 3 day supply*

Food: non-perishable, ready to eat items; pet food – 3 day supply*

Whistle

Battery-powered or hand crank radio

Flashlight

Extra batteries

Spare cellphone chargers

Extra set of car and house keys

Matches – in waterproof container

Lightweight, high insulation blanket

Extra clothing, hat, sturdy shoes

Stay-Home Stash: this list is used if you are stranded where you are.

One gallon of water per person, per day – 14 day supply*

Nonperishable, ready-to-eat food; per food – 14 day supply*

Manual Can Opener

Plates, utensils, napkins

Fire extinguisher

Work gloves

Face masks for dust and mold

Small toolbox including wrench or pliers for utility shutoff

Plastic sheeting and duct tape for sealing windows, doors

Chlorine bleach with medicine dropper**

Extra blankets, sleeping bags

Rain ponchos, towels

Essential Papers: be sure to copy important documents and store with money in a sealed container. Consider electronic backup.

Emergency contact information: family, friends, doctors, insurers

ID cards: photo IDs, passports, health insurance, Social Security

Family records: birth, marriage, death certificates

Medical and immunization records, prescriptions

Wills, insurance policies, contracts, deeds/leases

Recent tax returns

Bank and credit card statements, retirement account records, investment records

Local maps

Video and/or photos of your valuables and the interior and exterior of your home

Cash and change

*Water and non-perishable food should be replaced yearly.

**Instructions for treating non-bottled water for drinking: After filtering water through clean cloths, add 8 drops of regular household liquid bleach to 1 gallon of water; if water is cloudy or muddy, add 16 drops.

Kathleen S. Allen, LCSW, LICSW, C-ASWCM, is a Geriatric Care Manager and Elder Care Consultant in the Washington D.C. metropolitan area. She works with seniors and their families, and with organizations and their employees or members to help guide them through the challenges of aging and caregiving.