Every year, from June through November, millions of Americans contend with hurricane season.

These massive storms cause roof-ripping winds, flooding, and mass power outages that we, as Floridians, know can reach across many states. The devastation can be horrific but those living in hurricane zones are not without options. 

As with any potential emergency, preparation is critical. This holds especially true when planning for Older Americans.

Let us share five ways senior adults and their adult children can best prepare for hurricane season.

1. Create a Plan. What would you do if a hurricane knocked out your electricity for an extended period? What if roads in your area were impassable due to flooding and fallen trees? Who could you count on if cell phone, internet, and other forms of communication were down? These types of questions should be explored long before a hurricane is on its way. Seniors and their loved ones should talk to neighbors, stock up on supplies, and develop an emergency hurricane plan.

2. Inspection. Proactively inspect a senior’s home to identify potential hazards. Are heavy picture frames securely fastened to walls? Is the television stable? Are large tree branches hanging over the house? Be sure to consider heavy bookshelves and dressers to make sure they are secured from falling over, and rearrange the furniture to create clear paths to exit doors.

3. Food and Water. Stock up on food and water prior to an impending hurricane. Keep one to two weeks supply of nonperishable food items on hand, and plenty of water. One gallon per day, per person, is the recommended minimum. Keep in mind that water may need to be used for more than just drinking. 

4. Safety Kits. Prepare first aid items and a medical supply kit containing at least a two week supply of prescription medications and over-the-counter medicines. Building these at the start of hurricane season in June can go a long way towards creating peace of mind. 

5. Documents. Compile important documents, including your Florida estate planning documents or copies of them, and put them in a dry, safe and accessible place. In addition to your estate plan, this should include insurance papers, health-related information, an emergency contact list, and various forms of identification. Put these items in a waterproof container.

Hurricane season is serious for all Floridians. We encourage you to take precautions this summer to care for yourself and the seniors you love. Remember, preparation can be key in a crisis. Do not wait to ask us your questions on this or any Florida elder care issue. We are here for you to help you plan forward.