Florida may be known as the Sunshine State, but unfortunately it is also sometimes known as the hurricane state. The massive storms bring heavy rains to the Florida peninsula along with coastal storm surge and inland flooding – not to mention high winds upwards of 100 mph that can turn flying debris into deadly projectiles.

The size of the storms and the complications of such weather can wreak havoc across the state, but also other Gulf of Mexico states as well as the entire eastern seaboard of the United States. With so much at stake, it’s important to make sure that the most vulnerable among us are protected and cared for.

This is best accomplished by preparing for hurricane season, which lasts from June through November every year, before the first storm begins to bear down on your community.

In Florida alone, there are nearly 5.2 million seniors age 60 years or older. Approximately one in four of them suffers from some type of physical impairment.

According to Florida law, seniors and others with special needs are eligible for public hurricane evacuation assistance. The first step to obtaining these and other types of emergency services would be to register a senior citizen with special needs with a local emergency management agency. This is something that can be done today.

Developing an emergency hurricane plan is also critical. Identifying a safety shelter, creating a laminated list of emergency contacts, and putting together an emergency supply kit of first aid materials and prescription medications are all necessary elements to a successful plan. Helping aging adults with these items can make all the difference.

There are seniors who may need extra help. In addition to impaired mobility, they may suffer from multiple chronic health conditions or have difficulty with memory.

Hurricane-related disasters – like washed-out and impassable roads – can disrupt the help they rely on every day, like home-based medical care. It’s critical that healthy adults, elder caregivers, and friends and family members plan for their safety before a hurricane occurs.

Helping a senior loved one stay prepared, informed, and cared for throughout a hurricane ordeal, will alleviate confusion in a time of stress and uncertainty, and may end up saving their lives. It’s never too soon – or too late, for that matter – to begin.

Start by talking to your loved one about his or her long-term care needs as soon as possible. Although it may feel as if this is a difficult conversation to start, we are here to help you. Do not wait to contact our office to start planning.