Lisa Conway, One Senior Place – Special to FLORIDA TODAY
This is a new Q&A feature provided by One Senior Place, a marketplace for resources and a provider of information, advice, care and on-site services for seniors and their families, located in Viera.
Q: What should I do differently to prepare for a hurricane during the COVID-19 pandemic?
A: Here we are again, in the midst of hurricane season in Florida.
For those of us who call the Sunshine State home, preparing for the big summer storms is a necessity.
Officials always suggest following these three steps: Have a plan, make a kit and stay informed.
Forecasters predict the 2020 hurricane season will be busier than usual, with as many as 25 named storms and six major hurricanes.
And lucky us — it’s also the first time we’ve been tasked with preparing during a pandemic.
Have a plan
If a hurricane comes our way, will you choose to “hunker down” at home, evacuate the area entirely, or register for a special needs shelter?
Many people are expressing concern about social distancing and possible virus in public spaces.
Recognizing the possibility of viral spread at public shelters, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has issued new guidance for 2020, recommending Americans “shelter in place” or with family if possible.
If evacuation becomes necessary or is ordered by authorities, make sure your family or friends knows where you are headed and how they may reach you.
Make a kit
As usual, we’ll need to prepare a hurricane emergency kit. Or rather a “stay kit” for sheltering at home and a “go kit” in the event of evacuation.
Both should include water, non-perishable foods for yourself and any pets, flashlights, extra batteries, hand held or battery operated radio, cash, medications, personal hygiene products and a first aid kit.
Due to virus concerns, your kits should also include masks, gloves and an alcohol-based hand sanitizer along with disinfecting wipes.
We suggest documents and important information be kept in a waterproof bag or folder.
Your waterproof “survival” bag should contain any advance medical directives, insurance documents (or copies), medication and allergy list, physician information, shot records for pets and identification cards.
Once you’re prepared, regularly track the progress of the storm — but also rest your mind with a favorite movie or pleasant music.
Watching TV meteorologists repeat the same information hour after hour can be very stressful.
Making decisions with a cool head is best in any emergency situation.
After the storm, monitor broadcasts and directives from local Emergency Management authorities for further instructions.
Hurricane season is stressful for Floridians of any age. And the pandemic isn’t helping.
Take a deep breath and remember that preparation and planning will lessen your anxiety and uncertainty.
For a complete hurricane checklist for seniors, go to oneseniorplace.com/hurricane. Inquire at One Senior Place for your free waterproof document holder, while supplies last.
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One Senior Place is a marketplace for resources and a provider of information, advice, care and on-site services for seniors and their families. Questions for this column are answered by professionals in nursing, social work, care management and in-home care. To submit a question, send an email to askOSP@OneSeniorPlace.com or visit One Senior Place, The Experts in Aging at OneSeniorPlace.com.
Lisa Conway, RN, is a Certified Care Manager for One Senior Place in Viera.