Disaster Preparedness for Older Adults

Are You Prepared for Disaster?

With hurricane season in full swing, make sure you and your loved ones (especially older adults) are prepared. Preparing for disaster, even if it never occurs, is necessary to ensure the safety and well-being of everyone.

Natural disasters such as tornadoes, floods, and hurricanes create special challenges for older adults, their caregivers, and their families. Disaster supply kits are important to have handy, but many do not have these kits or know what it should include. Some elderly have special needs that the normal supply list may not include. The following tips were recommended by U.S. Department of Homeland Security and FEMA for people with disabilities and can apply to many older adults. These tips are for older adults who can independently prepare for a disaster. If you are preparing for someone else, see Tips for Caregivers of the Elderly and People with Disabilities.

collage of words associated with disaster

Make Your Lists
  • Emergency Information List
  • Medical Information List
  • List of doctors, relatives, or friends who should be notified if you are hurt. Make sure to include phone numbers and addresses.
  • Disability Related Supply List
  • List of the style and serial number of medical devices
  • Emergency Document List

Are You Ready caution sign

Put Your Needs in Writing– Create a detailed description of your specific needs
  • Daily routine
  • Special instructions about medications
  • Actions that cause extra pain, nervousness, or distress
Your Service Animal– Make plans for your service animal to remain with you.
  • Prepare written instructions for how to handle and care for your service animal
  • Set aside a 2-week supply of food for your service animal
  • Medical/vaccine records and vet contact information
  • Include related documents with emergency information
Your Pet
  • Pan for your pet’s evacuation
  • Contact your county’s government emergency management office to identify pet friendly shelters
  • Medical/vaccine records and vet contact information
  • Pet carrier, toys, blankets, leashes, collars, ID tags, proof of ownership, etc.
  • Extra food in plastic containers
Let Family and Friends Know What You Need
  • Create a support network to help you in an emergency and tell them where you keep emergency supplies.
  • Give one member of your support network a key to your house or apartment.
  • Contact your city or county government’s emergency information management office
  • Let your utility company know of your needs, especially if you depend on electricity to operate medical equipment.
  • Wear medical alert tags or bracelets to help identify your disability or other serious health issues.
  • Know the location and availability of more than one facility where you can receive treatment.
  • Show others how to operate your medical equipment.
  • If using a wheelchair, know the size and weight and whether or not it is collapsible.

collage of disaster related words

Keep Extra Supplies on Hand
  • Prescription medicines, list of medications including dosage, list of any allergies.
    • Florida’s emergency prescription refill law permits individuals who are insured or are subscribers of prescription medication plans to refill prescriptions in advance of a hurricane.
    • Medicare beneficiaries can call 1-800-MEDICARE for more information
  • Extra eyeglasses and hearing-aid batteries
  • Extra wheelchair batteries, oxygen, etc.
  • Medical insurance and Medicare cards.
Act at the First Sign of Trouble

Prepare well in advance for potential disasters or emergencies. Put your personal disaster plan into action as soon as you know trouble is on the way, it may take extra time for you to move to a safe location and gather your belongings.


Jana Hart- Extension Agent- FCS/4-H




Avatar photo
Posted: August 28, 2017

Category: Disaster Preparation, Work & Life
Tags: Disaster, Disaster Preparedness, Elderly, Hurricane, Senior Citizen, Weather

Subscribe For More Great Content

IFAS Blogs Categories