Seniors have several obstacles in staying prepared for disasters and the list of things to do seems to be never ending. One of the biggest things that you can do however is to have a Preparedness Support Team that can provide help and support in a time of need. It can make a huge difference when a disaster strikes.
What is a Preparedness Support Team?
A Preparedness Support Team is a few people that you can trust and count on to check on you and provide assistance if necessary, during and after a disaster. You in turn can also provide the same support, if possible, to those on your list. If you are not able to physically help other people due to health or mobility issues then you can provide support via the phone if communications are still working and assist in coordinating help.
Why You Need a Preparedness Support Team
In a disaster situation it is hard enough to go it alone when you are younger, in good health and physically fit, but many seniors are not in that situation. Some seniors have their spouses or other family to help but in a disaster that still may not be enough. Sure, you can deal with day to day living when there is no disaster but there will likely come a time when you are going to need help. Some reasons why you need a Preparedness Support Team are:
- Seniors can easily hurt their back, sprain an ankle or twist a knee just walking around the house or going up and down the stairs. When a small injury happens then doing basic things like cooking and cleaning become very hard.
- When you get sick and there is no family with you, illnesses can turn from minor to major if you can’t get up to get your medication and stay hydrated and nourished.
- If you are injured and cannot clean and dress a wound, a simple cut could become infected and threaten your life.
- Being alone and on your own during a disaster can keep your spirit down and illness can follow if your mental state is not good.
- If a flood is pending or a tornado has caused damage to your home, your team can provide assistance.
- If there is a short-term power outage or the water supply has been contaminated, you and your team can work together to help each other.
Who You Need in your Support Team
I suggest that you have at least 5 or 6 people on your support team with some in your neighborhood, others in the city/county that you live in and at lease one person that is out of town.
- Support people are needed in your neighborhood as the first line of help during a disaster. They are able to quickly check on you to see if you are ok and what your needs are.
- Support People are needed outside of your community, like in the city or county, that are close enough to drive to provide assistance. If a tornado or flood ravages your neighborhood and all of your support team is there, you may need assistance from someone outside of the immediate area.
- Having at least one person out of town can help if the disaster has caused havoc in your city/county or region of the state. They may have access to information and supplies that they can get to you. If voice calling capacity is overwhelmed within the local disaster area, you may be able to make a phone call to someone out of the region who in turn can call someone in your area.
Qualifications for People on Your Support Team
- Physically able to come to your home and help
- Mentally healthy, able to keep their cool in a disaster
- Like minded in being prepared
- Share your values
It may be hard to find 5 people with all of these qualifications but do the best that you can. If you do not know someone well enough to call them trust worthy, don’t exclude them. You may be able to build that trust as time goes by.
So, what if you don’t have anyone that meets those qualifications? Then you need to start working on relationships.
- While taking walks, take the time to say hello to people so you can start to get to know them.
- Offer to have them stop by for coffee or tea to have some social time.
- Make some baked goods or hand made gifts to give out.
- Attend community events and start making contacts to nurture.
- Pass out information on Disaster Preparedness and Support Teams to see who might be interested.
Things to do With and For Your Support Team
- Give trusted people a spare key to your home or let them know where you hide your key. In an emergency they may need to get into your home to help you.
- You should have the following emergency information very accessible at a desk or side table so that your team and first responders can get to it quickly. Have “Emergency Information” marked in bold and large letters on the front page so that it is clearly visible. You should also give a copy of this information to your support team, close friends and family so that they have it handy when needed:
- Emergency Medical Information
- Medications and Supplements
- Emergency contact information that would include friends and family
- Support Team Information
- Medical Equipment Documentation
- Let the most trust worthy people in your team know where your Estate Preparedness Portfolio/Emergency Binder is located. This should have information on bank accounts, liabilities, User IDs etc. that is very confidential but in certain circumstances this information may be needed. Your executor and/or close family should have a digital copy of this information as well.
- Let them know where your emergency supplies and equipment are stored and how much you have. If you really trust someone then it is ok to tell them this. If not, make some notes on where things are stored so you can give it to someone if needed.
- Let them know when you have appointments in case a disaster happens while you are not home.
- Let them know when you are going out of town. Retrieve hidden keys and give to a trusted person that can check on your home while you are gone. Someone may need to turn off the utilities if they are able.
- Setup routine voice or video phone calls to check on each other and discuss preparedness topics during non-disaster times. This helps build community and allows everyone to learn things about preparedness and each other’s strengths and weaknesses.
- Learn to Text if you do not already know how. Phone circuits could be overwhelmed during a disaster but you will likely be able to get a text through to let your network know you are ok or that you are in need of help.
- Use texting instead of a phone call every so often to get the group practicing this form of communication.
- Setup monthly meetings with others in your support group to learn about preparedness.
Even if you have a lot of preparedness supplies, equipment and knowledge, going it alone is very hard to do especially if you are a senior. Take the time to get to know people in your community and work on building a Preparedness Support Team and help each other to become more prepared.
An Offer to Consider
Having up to date documentation is really important in a disaster situation and even more important if you are a senior that may need help from your support group. Our Estate Preparedness Forms provides editable forms, spreadsheets and resources that enable you to document important information that is needed during and after a disaster including:
- Emergency Medical Information
- Emergency Contacts
- Preparedness Support Team Information
- Prescriptions and Supplements
- Medical Equipment Documentation Form
- Property Inventory Spreadsheet
- Disaster Supply Inventory Spreadsheet
- Personal Information
- Assets and Liabilities
There are a total of 30 forms, spreadsheets and resources in the packet that normally sells for $34.95 but we are currently offering a limited time, 20% discount with the code Forms20. Take advantage of this special offer today and jump start your preparedness efforts! See our website for more information.