Caring for a senior during a natural disaster

Dealing with the aftermath of a natural disaster like a tornado, flood, hurricane, or earthquake can be a very stressful situation.  Caring for a senior during and after a natural disaster can be even more daunting. A natural disaster can lead to loss of life and/ or property which can leave someone feeling empty, depressed and with an increased sense of vulnerability. This is why it is very important to be ready before disaster strikes so that you are prepared to face whatever the effects may be. Below are some ideas to help you and the senior you are caring for stay calm in the face of disaster.

Social Connections: When dealing with natural disasters, it is not uncommon to experience disruption of services that breach our social connections (i.e., family and friends). Therefore, it is important to connect with at least one person in your community- perhaps a next door neighbor.

Remain Informed: As part of your emergency kit, you should have included a battery operated radio with extra batteries. Make sure you remain informed about looming dangers and regular updates from emergency response agencies. Avoid listening to sensationalist news broadcasts or rumors and discourage the senior you are caring for to engage in this type of activity as well.

Try to Keep a Routine: Although, it may be easier said than done, it is important to try to maintain a routine. It will help you feel a little more organized. For instance, try to make sure that you and the senior you are caring for get enough food and sleep. If you are both under a medication regime, make sure to take your medication and provide medications to the senior at the regular times.

Stay Active: It is very easy to feel hopeless and helpless when there has been a loss of life and/or property due to a natural disaster. Therefore, it is important to avoid getting into a funk by staying active within your community. Invite the senior you are caring for to help you with light chores around the house if possible. This is one way to stay physically active. Another way is to volunteer to help others that have been affected within your community.  They will probably return the favor and help you out as well. Remaining active will help you and the senior you are caring for keep your minds occupied.

Additional Resources:

Evacuation Centers

Report Storm damage

Red Cross NYC


Miller Calberto, M.S, OTR/L, CAPS

Senior Partner

Adapting Spaces, LLC


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