Able-bodied younger people are often responsible for looking after their more vulnerable family members. That responsibility is only more pressing during emergency situations. These six tips will help you ensure the safety of elderly family members during a SHTF scenario.
First, you need to create a personal emergency kit specifically for your elderly relative’s needs. The kit should contain the usual survival gear — water bottles, food, extra clothes, first aid supplies and so on — but you may also need to include these special items:
– Hygiene and sanitation supplies
– Extra glasses and hearing aids if the relative needs them
– Weapon for self-defense
– Whistle, flashlight and mirror to signal for help
– Radio for constant communication
– Map of your property and the surrounding area
– At least one month’s worth of prescription and over-the-counter medications
– The family member’s medical information and other personal documents
This personal emergency kit is designed so that your elderly relatives can briefly fend for themselves and find your group if they get separated. Whether they are still functionally independent or confined to a wheelchair, they won’t survive long without your help. Having their own emergency kit will give the whole family greater peace of mind.
Making your shelter accessible is the next step in ensuring your elderly family member’s safety. Many of the renovations are small but necessary changes. For example, you can start by changing handles from knobs to levers so relatives can open doors more easily. Here are some other handicap-accessible features you should consider:
– Non-slip floors
– Wheelchair ramps
– Roll-under sinks
– Full-length mirrors
– Raised toilet seats
– Grab bars for showers, bathtubs and toilets
– Low-lying cabinets, shelves and appliances
You may also need to rearrange the furniture so your elderly relatives can move around with less effort. Look for senior-friendly chairs and tables that are lightweight and don’t have too many sharp edges. Spread everything out in an open floor plan. The more accessible your shelter is, the easier life will be for older family members.
Next, make the same adjustments for your bug-out vehicle. If the SHTF scenario forces you to evacuate, the car must be able to accommodate elderly family members. Ideally, you should have a spacious truck or SUV with large doors, at least five-person seating and enough storage space for your survival gear. Then, you can make the following senior-friendly additions:
– Seat belt grabbers
– Swivel seats
– Seat lifts
– Extra handles
– Seat cushions
– Wheelchair hoist
Sitting in a car for long periods of time is uncomfortable for everyone, so imagine how it feels for older people with health complications. You must do everything in your power to make the ride pain-free. These small modifications could make the difference between life and death for the sick and elderly.
Providing a balanced diet is a critical part of ensuring your older relatives’ safety. Since they are more susceptible to malnutrition, you need to feed them bigger rations. That means stocking your pantry with food that can last a lifetime and be consumed in a variety of ways:
– White rice
– Corn starch
– Powdered milk
– Apple cider vinegar
– Soy sauce
– Raw honey
While these survival foods are packed with nutrients and have long shelf lives, they don’t offer much flavor. Your elderly relative might also have dietary restrictions that prevent them from consuming certain items. Ask for their input and try to include some foods that meet their needs and personal preferences.
Let’s assume your elderly relative has some at-home medical equipment, such as an oxygen concentrator, ventilator or CPAP machine. They depend on these devices for survival, which means a power outage poses an immediate threat to their lives. This scenario is one of many reasons why you need a reliable backup power source.
An extra power generator or solar power bank are two great options for emergency situations. You should also stock up on extra batteries for thermometers, oxygen monitors, blood pressure monitors and other devices you might have to use.
This final tip pertains to your elderly family member’s overall well-being. Even if they’re safe from external threats, a lockdown or evacuation situation can still take a significant toll on their health. You must keep them physically, mentally and socially active so their conditions don’t worsen and their spirits remain high.
Try to get them involved in the group’s activities as much as possible. They can’t help much with outdoor manual labor, but they might offer assistance with household chores. They can also read, do puzzles and play games with the children. Keep them occupied with anything that stimulates their minds and prevents them from feeling isolated.
Families stick together through thick and thin. Nobody gets left behind, no matter the circumstances. These six essential tips will help you keep your older relatives safe without compromising the rest of the group in serious SHTF situations.
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