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
Eyewash for flushing contaminants
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*
Battery-powered or hand crank radio
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
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
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.