If you’re anything like me, you’d like to press fast forward and leave 2020 behind you. A global pandemic, ongoing civil unrest, balancing work and home in ways many of us have never experienced…it’s a lot. Before I continue, I hope your family is healthy and well.

I grew up in Connecticut, and while hurricanes and tropical storms aren’t annual inconveniences, I have certainly seen and experienced several in my lifetime. Earlier this month, when Tropical Storm Isaias pummeled the Northeast, I was once again reminded that mother nature can quickly wreak havoc on our daily lives.  On my street, we counted seven downed trees – one which took down the power lines and two others that blocked traffic from passing through our street. Thankfully, we were prepared with our trusty portable generator, extra gas, and enough food and water stocked in our basement.

In Fairfield County, weather related disasters—thunderstorms, tropical storms, hurricanes, blizzards and even heat waves—can all lead to power outages, downed trees, and extreme communication difficulties. That isn’t news to any of us, of course, but, to me, it all means something different in 2020. Just think how quickly life changed seemingly overnight in mid-March when all of a sudden, offices closed, schools, restaurants, stores and more all shut down and basic needs like cleaning supplies, toilet paper and paper towels were nowhere in sight. It’s no longer alarmist to state that this is a world in which we need to get and stay prepared.

When you have an elderly family member, these precautions take on heightened meaning and necessitate the need to plan and prepare for future emergencies.  We recommend following these steps:

  1. Understand the types of emergencies you could face – for example, winter storms, thunderstorms, home fires, and flooding.
  2. Understand your special needs and limitations that may impact how you need to respond to a disaster – for example, do you have mobility issues? Do you take medication that requires refrigeration?
  3. Make a response plan for each of the disasters you’ve identified.
  4. Gather supplies and assemble your disaster kit. (See graphic)
  5. Review your plan with family, friends, and neighbors. THIS IS VERY IMPORTANT – Make sure your plan works for everyone.
  6. Practice your plan.
  7. Revisit your disaster kit and supplies twice a year.

Collaborative Home Care works with all of its clients to develop plans to address what should be done in case a disaster strikes, so they are prepared regardless if one of our caregivers is with them. If 2020 has taught us anything, it’s better to be safe than sorry.