Older adults are among the most vulnerable during a disaster. That's why it is critical for older Americans and those that care for them to be prepared.

In the wake of a disaster, help may not be immediately available.  Senior citizens may have to survive on their own for an extended period of time and this may pose a problem.


Have an Emergency Supply Kit and Household Disaster Plan in place.


Your disaster plan should also include:


Communications Strategy

  • Create a support network.
  • Talk with family and friends. Create a "phone chain" in which you make an initial call to a designated person and in turn they call a designated person so everyone is up to date during an emergency.
  • Make sure everyone in your network has a key to your home and knows where you keep your emergency supplies.
  • Practice the plan with those in your network. 
  • Keep contact information up to date.

Evacuation Strategy

  • Designate a meeting place. Pick one near your home and one outside of your neighborhood.
  • Make travel arrangements.  Can you drive? Do you need someone to pick you up?
  • Find out which shelters can house you.
  • Take your pets with you.


  • Consider ordering a medical ID bracelet. This may be particulary helpful if you or a loved one has heath problems.
  • Encourage electronic payments for federal benefit recipients. A disaster can disrupt mail for days or even weeks.  For those that depend on Social Security benefits, electronic payments can prevent delays and eliminate the risk of stolen checks.
  • The U.S. Department of Treasury recommends two safe ways to get federal benefits.

Your emergency supply kit should aslo include:


Medications and Medical Supplies

  • Make a list of prescription medications, including dosage, treatment and allergy information.
  • At least a two week supply of medications in original packaging. Consider asking your doctor for an extra prescription and paying for it out of pocket, if your isurance company won't supply it. Or ask your pharmacist what you can do to prepare.
  • Medical equipment such as blood sugar monitoring equipment, blood pressure cuff, hearing aid batteries, dentures, eye glasses, wheelchair batteries, oxygen, and other devices you use regularly.

Emergency Documents

  • Family records, medical records, wills, deeds, etc.
  • Copies of medical insurance and Medicare cards.
  • A list of the style and serial number of medical devices or other life-sustaining devices.
  • Names and contact information of your support network, as well as medical providers.
  • If you have a communication disability, note the best way to communicate with you.
  • Keep the documents in a waterproof container.