OSA Urges Older Adults To Plan For Their Safety

Contact: Shirley Bentsen 517-373-8765

September 7, 2011

As the Eighth Annual National Preparedness Month is observed throughout September, the Michigan Office of Services to the Aging (OSA) urges all older Michigan residents to develop a plan to protect their personal safety in the event of a natural disaster or national emergency. Preparation can save lives, especially for older adults who are at greater risk of harm.

"The flooding and wind damage recently left in the wake of Hurricane Irene on the East Coast vividly underscores the challenges for communities and individuals during an emergency situation," said Kari Sederburg, Director of OSA. "We know that older adults are disproportionately affected by disasters, and we want older Michigan residents to be aware of ways to be prepared and safe. Those who are oxygen-dependent or bed/wheelchair bound, for example, or who have cognitive impairments, or mobility or health-related issues, require special help when emergencies strike as evacuations can be complicated by these special circumstances."

 

While everyone's needs and abilities are unique, every individual can take important steps to protect themselves by preparing and putting emergency plans in place. By evaluating your own personal needs and making an emergency plan with caregivers if you have them, you'll be better prepared for any situation.

 

Here is a list of things older adults can do to protect themselves in an emergency situation:

  • Think about how your needs may be affected in an emergency.
  • Know shelter locations in your community.
  • Make sure you have medications and medical supplies available for a period of time.
  • Have phone numbers readily available for people who can help you, and inform your support network of your emergency plan.
  • Keep important medical and emergency information in a waterproof container.

 

Here are some important resources:

  • All local units of government have emergency preparedness plans.
  • Contact the Area Agency on Aging serving your area for their plans.
  • People residing in institutional settings can request a copy of the facility's emergency plan.

 

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The Office of Services to the Aging is the focal point of Michigan's aging network providing leadership, innovation, advocacy, and policy on behalf of Michigan's older adults and caregivers. For more information, contact the Office of Services to the Aging at (517) 373-8765 or visit www.miseniors.net.