TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - The Red Cross, National Preparedness Month and Southern AZ Chapter are encouraging older adults to be ready in case of a natural disaster emergency.
According to new research from the American Red Cross Scientific Advisory Council and the American Academy of Nursing, older adults are more vulnerable and experience more casualties after a natural disaster compared to other age groups.
According to the Red Cross, older people may be more vulnerable in an emergency because:
- Older adults may have more chronic conditions and medication concerns.
- They may be more dependent on assistive devices like walkers and eyeglasses, and support from caregivers.
- Living in social isolation can also make them more vulnerable.
“We all care deeply about the older adults in our lives, and during the pandemic, they are more vulnerable than ever,” said Kara Egbert, Board Chair, Southern AZ Chapter. “Now is the time to ask if they need help assessing their needs and making a plan before an emergency occurs.”
The Red Cross says older adults should think about what they would do during a disaster before it occurs. Understand how medical, physical, and cognitive needs may affect your ability to respond if you had to stay in your home for two weeks or more or had to evacuate. Building a support network and identifying helpers such as family, friends, neighbors, caregivers, and care providers who may be able to assist is vital. Older adults should meet with these supporters and decide how to communicate in an emergency.
Disasters can force people to leave their homes, even in areas under stay-at-home mandates. Here’s how you can come up with a plan:
- Ask friends or relatives outside your area if you would be able to stay with them.
- Check and see if they have any COVID-19 symptoms or have people in their homes at higher risk for serious illness. If they do, make other arrangements.
- Check with hotels, motels, and campgrounds to see if they are open and if pets are allowed.
- Due to the pandemic, stay current on advice and restrictions from your state and local public health authorities as it may affect your actions, available resources, and shelter facilities. · Learn first aid and CPR skills, so you’ll know what to do until emergency help arrives.
- Download the free Red Cross Emergency App for weather alerts and information on what to do before, during, and after disasters.
For more information on how to be prepared in an emergency situation, visit redcross.org/coronavirus.