Make specific hurricane preparations for seniors

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Numerous articles and publications have been written about hurricane preparedness, especially after what we faced last year with Hurricane Matthew. They have included some excellent suggestions for the general public.

Now, let's concentrate on specific information for seniors and those who are disabled.

Much of this material is from an excellent pamphlet that is available from the Bluffton Police Department. They can be contacted at 843-706-4550 or www.blufftonpolice.com.

Getting ready for a disaster like a hurricane requires planning in advance. Seniors and disabled adults can do this by themselves or with the help of their loved ones and caregivers.

In addition to having fresh water, nonperishable food, a first aid kit, enough clothing for a week, and other standard supplies available, you might need to prepare the following:

Wheelchairs: Make sure they are in working order, even if not typically used. If they usually use a motorized wheelchair, have a manual wheelchair in reserve.

Durable medical equipment: Plan to take your oxygen, walker and other necessary equipment with you if you have to evacuate.

Hearing aids: Have extra batteries handy and keep them with the rest of your emergency supplies.

Identification: Have copies handy of important documents such as insurance information, especially medical, medication lists, contact lists and living wills.

Prescriptions: Talk to your doctor about stocking up on at least a week's supply of all your prescription medicine and put an extra copy of your medication list with your emergency supplies.

Providers: Talk to your home health agency or in-home care agency about how they handle emergencies.

For those loved ones who have Alzheimer's or other dementias, you must take extra precautions and make sure someone local has a copy of their emergency plan and knows where everything is.

Arrange in advance how they will be evacuated and where. If an emergency occurs, remain calm, and provide clear direction and support.

In addition to the above tips, there is an app that can be downloaded from the Google app store called "My PD." The app keeps you connected to your local police department for updates, emergencies, instructions and announcements. Once downloaded, you can choose your state and county.

For additional information, visit the following sites: South Carolina Emergency Management (www.scemd .org); South Carolina Department of Transportation for evacuation routes (www.scdot.org/getting/evacuation.aspx); National Hurricane Center (www.nhc. noaa.gov).

Also, stay in touch with local information via the official town websites and social media.

We hope we won't see a repeat of Hurricane Matthew in our lifetimes, but as the saying goes "plan for the worst."

James Wogsland, Certified Senior Advisor, is the owner of ComForCare Home Care. JWogsland@ComForCare.com; www.HiltonHead.ComForCare.com

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