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Senior Safety during Hurricane Season

Perhaps the most vital topic under that heading is knowing how to best help the seniors in our community, should disaster strike.

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — Between June and November of each year, the question of hurricane readiness becomes especially important for those of us who live along the Texas coast. 

Perhaps of the most vital topics under that heading is knowing how to best help the seniors in our community, should disaster strike. Waiting until a hurricane is on the horizon to plan and prepare, will nearly always put property and people in peril.

When it comes to our elderly population, the uncertainty of an impending natural disaster can create fear and anxiety. That makes it imperative for those with older loved ones to ask questions now, like, “What if an evacuation is ordered? What if there is no water or electricity for several days?”

The decision about whether to stay or go in the event of a hurricane is a serious consideration. According to Sara Williams, Emergency Management Coordinator for San Patricio County, that is especially true for those with relatives in assisted living or nursing care.

“Those who are in long-term care facilities, those care facilities are required by state law to have plans for their residents, “says Williams. “I would suggest the family members talk to the administrators at those facilities to learn what their plans are.”

Knowing the plan should make it easier to connect in the event of an evacuation.

Also, when trying to connect, remember that sending a text is best. If you are using a mobile phone, a text may get through when a phone call won’t and can help bring peace of mind more quickly.

But what about those seniors who are still living on their own? Experts say that being intentional now about what to do should the time come to leave, can ease any confusion that comes with an emergency.

For those who will need help evacuating, that process begins by immediately calling 2-1-1 or going online and enrolling in STEAR (State of Emergency Assistance Registry).

According to Williams, it puts the elderly in touch with emergency services. “If need be,” she says, “we can contact them during an evacuation situation and either confirm that they have a method to get out of harm’s way or make arrangements to help them.”

Keep in mind that you will need to re-register every year.

Beyond that, label any special equipment, like walkers, wheelchairs and oxygen tanks, so that they can be returned more easily, should they go missing.

Also, pack what you can in a suitcase so that you’ll be set to go with medication and any important contacts and paperwork that will need to be saved in the event of a storm.

Listed below are helpful websites to help you plan and prepare now for a potential storm, including Emergency Management pages for local counties, which should prove to be an invaluable resources should another hurricane move toward our area.

  • STEAR (State of Texas Emergency Assistance Registry): https://tdem.texas.gov/stear Ready.gov: https://www.ready.gov 
  • Aging.com: https://aging.com 
  • Aransas County Emergency Management: https://www.aransascounty.org/emergencymgmt 
  • Bee County Emergency Management: http://www.beecounty.texas.gov/page/bee.Emergency
  • Brooks County Emergency Management: https://www.facebook.com/Brooks-County-City-Of-Falfurrias-Emergency-Management-103929554788491 
  • Duval County Emergency Management: https://www.facebook.com/sallyb1224 
  • Jim Hogg County Emergency Management: https://www.facebook.com/Jim-Hogg-County-Emergency-Management-100221408311727 
  • Jim Wells County Emergency Management: https://www.facebook.com/Jim-Wells-County-Emergency-Management-499746580202262 
  • Kleberg County Emergency Management: http://www.co.kleberg.tx.us/page/kleberg.Emergency 
  • Live Oak County Emergency Management: http://www.co.live-oak.tx.us 
  • San Patricio County Emergency Management: https://sanpatem.net 
  • Refugio County Emergency Management: https://www.facebook.com/Refugio-County-Office-of-Emergency-Management-1543452395791900  

For the latest updates on coronavirus in the Coastal Bend, click here.

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