UNITED STATES—Toni: In August 2017, Hurricane Harvey absolutely devastated my wife. Now, her 84-year-old mother is living in an assisted living facility, and we live over 10 miles away from her.

What can we do to be prepared for another hurricane, ice storm or any emergency should it happen in this area to protect the elderly?

We are concerned the assistant living facility does not have an evacuation plan and I cannot find one online. Thanks, Cindy from Houston, TX.

Cindy: Hurricane season officially starts on Wednesday, June 1 and will not end until Wednesday, November 30. The deeper the season goes; the storms get stronger.

Everyone should have a family disaster readiness plan for hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquakes and/or all type of natural disasters. For seniors or those that are disabled, this is especially crucial for their survival because many are energy or technologically dependent for life support or ongoing medical treatment.

Here are a few questions, to help you prepare for any disaster or hurricane.

  • Do I stay or go? This will depend on where you live either in the city or in the country. When living in the city, leave early because during many storms there have been massive traffic jams which took 36-48 hours of waiting on the highway to get out of that area. Please leave early to avoid serious delays and running out of gas on the highway.
  1. a) Make sure you have a sufficient supply of prescriptions and always bring your list of current prescriptions for yourself or any family member.
  2. b) Have a copy of medical records for those with critical medical conditions such as your mother-in-law’s. Keep the medical records in a safe place that you can get to immediately when evacuating. Also bring all legal documents such as Medical Power of Attorney and Living Will.
  3. c) Have a backup plan in case you are not in town for the emergency and other family members must take over for the elderly loved one.
  • Do I have access to clean water? If you do not have access to clean water, then any crisis becomes extremely critical in a couple of days. Remember, you may not have access to a grocery store and supplies may be depleted.
  • Do I have adequate food supply? Most households have a few days of food already available, but the best way to stock up on additional food and supplies is to add a little bit extra each week. Remember, during a crisis the power may be out, so cook your frozen & refrigerated food first.
  • Do I have enough cash on hand in case the ATMs are not working? Take your check book because ATMs may not be operating
  • Does my family know where to meet? It is important that all family members and loved ones know where to meet in a disaster. My family’s initial meeting place if we happen to be separated in the Houston area is Whataburger in Sealy on I-10 and Hwy 36.

Since Hurricane Harvey devastated Texas and the Pandemic “Covid-19” impacted our lives, we do not take storms or any natural disaster for granted. Limited access to grocery supplies such as water and baby formula have affected us all. I remember the news during Tropical Storm Allison in June 2001 when 18-wheelers were floating sideways down I-10 because the water was so high. It is at that time I learned how to get prepared!

Sign up for the Toni Says® Medicare newsletter about Medicare rules and changes at www.tonisays.com. Toni King, author of the 2022 Medicare Survival Guide® Advanced edition is giving a $5 discount on the Medicare Survival Guide® Advanced book at www.tonisays.com.