"In all cases, early preparation is the key to surviving a hurricane with as little discomfort as possible."
Hurricane season is upon us, and just two years after Sandy, AARP is reminding older New Yorkers, their families and friends to get ready early this hurricane season. While Sandy claimed victims as young as toddlers, it was crueler to the city's elderly, with 27 New Yorkers aged 65 or older perishing in the storm.
For older New Yorkers, who often times have limited mobility, delayed reaction, and reliance on prescriptions for their health, prepping in advance for extreme weather can mean the difference between life and death.
That's why today, AARP is offering up key tips on how New Yorkers can ensure the safety of elderly loved ones in the wake of disaster.
"Don't wait for the threat of a storm to start thinking about getting prepared. When power goes out, the elevator goes out, and many elderly are unable to make it down a flight of stairs in the dark to go grocery shopping for needed items, and when they run out of a prescription, it can become life threatening," said Beth Finkel, State Director for AARP in New York. "The simple act of checking in on the elderly can go a long way to helping them stay safe in times of a disaster such as Sandy, and in some instances may even save a life."
Before the first big storm of summer hits, AARP offers the following tips and resources for older New Yorkers:
- Check on Rx supplies: If they are running low, most pharmacies will provide a three-day supply (bring verification of prescription, such as bottle or script from doctor, if available). To find out a pharmacy's status, check here: www.rxopen.org
- Groceries: Offer to assist with any grocery shopping. Check refrigerated food for spoilage. If in doubt, throw it out.
- Meals: If the individual is in need of meals at least 60 years old, Meals on Wheels can be contacted here: www.mowaa.org/findameal.
- Medical Emergency: Call 911. Medicare patients in New York can also now receive non-emergency care at a nursing home without a prior three-day hospital stay.
- Personal Care Assistance: If an elderly loved one receives assistance from a home healthcare agency, find out how they respond to an emergency. Designate backup or alternative providers that you can contact in an emergency.
- Assist with Home Preparations: Bring inside loose, lightweight objects such as lawn furniture and garbage cans, anchor objects that will be unsafe to bring inside, like gas grills or propane tanks, close windows and outside doors securely and move valuable items to the upper floors.
- Update your Evacuation Kit: Your Evacuation kit should include an ID or Driver's License, birth certificate; clothes, food and water (for at least three days); cash and traveler's checks; maps of the evacuation route, alternate routes and a way to get to local shelters; and your car keys along with a full tank of gas.
- Have a Supply Kit ready: Your Supply kit should include a flashlight, first aid kit, batteries, food, water and any medications you may need for at least three days.
- Plan for Pets: If a hurricane requires you to leave your home and you cannot shelter pets at a kennel or with friends or relatives outside the evacuation area, pets are allowed at all city evacuation centers.
In all cases, early preparation is the key to surviving a hurricane with as little discomfort as possible.
AARP urges New Yorkers to equip themselves with the essential survival tools and resources now, to safeguard against potentially disastrous weather to come.
- Safe Room Protection Against Tornadoes and Hurricanes - FEMA - (May 05, 2011)
- Tornadoes and People with Disabilities - Thomas C. Weiss - (Jun 02, 2013)
- 2-1-1 Information - United States and Canada - Ian Langtree - (Jun 08, 2012)