Emergency Planning for the Elderly

Older individuals are among the most at-risk when a disaster happens. When making emergency plans, be sure to consider how a disaster situation may threaten or aggravate the health of an elderly person:

  • Create a special contact sheet containing a complete medical history and important information for emergency/rescue personnel, such as:
    • Emergency contact information
    • Allergies
    • Health conditions
    • Medications and dosages
    • Medical provider and pharmacy contact information
    • Use of durable medical supplies/equipment such as oxygen
    • Any functional and access needs.
  • If you or someone you care for is elderly and you have to evacuate, secure a copy of the person’s medical information to them in a sealed pocket or plastic bag. This extra step will assist in reunification and/or provide information to a rescuer/first

    responder if you are separated during the evacuation.

  • If you or someone you care for is an older individual, be sure to consider the following in your emergency planning:
    • Any special travel arrangements needed
    • Assistive devices for mobility or healthcare needs
    • Dialysis
    • Special diets
    • Wound care
    • Risk of falling
    • Confusion or disorientation

Many older individuals are able to maintain a certain level of independence through the aid of special medical equipment. However, some of this equipment may not be available during an emergency because of a power outage or inability to transport the

equipment. In planning for these special needs, consider:

  • Does special medical equipment limit your mobility or the distance you can travel?
  • Who will be responsible for bringing along the special equipment if you need to evacuate?
  • Is the lack of the equipment life-threatening—such as in certain cases with oxygen, dialysis, etc.?