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Seventy five percent of American households are at risk for some type of natural disaster. Equally startling is that relatively few have done much to prepare.

Research shows that it's just human nature not to plan for a disaster – mainly because we think it won't happen to us. But it's critical to plan for a disaster such as a hurricane, tornado, earthquake, flood, or fire, particularly for older adults and their families. Disease-related conditions and the functional limitations they cause are more prevalent in later life, and this makes older adults, as a group, more vulnerable during emergencies and disasters.

Careful preparation can help to prevent loss of life and reduce property damage or loss. Planning can lessen the stress and discomfort around recovery and rebuilding, as well as decrease the amount of time it will take to get your life back in order."

Disaster planning does not have to be daunting and the three key steps to a comprehensive plan that applies to everyone, but especially to older adults.

Action: Take It!

-Know which disasters you’re at risk for and how to best prepare for them

-Plan for the possibility that you may have to evacuate your home

-Set up your support network

-Evaluate the risks, abilities and needs of everyone in your household and adjust your plan accordingly

- Make a plan for your pets

Belongings: Know Them!

-Create a home inventory. Start by going room to room with a video or still

camera to make a visual record of your belongings

-Prepare a written list to accompany your visual record

-Keep receipts for valuable items and write on your inventory list their make,

model, serial number, date of purchase, and other relevant information

-Store a copy of whatever documentation you create away from your home

-Update the inventory periodically

Connections: Make Them!

-Have family conversations about disasters and how you will support each other

-Broaden your support network to include neighbors

-Be specific with others in your network about the tasks that need to be done and

who will do them

-Don’t hesitate to ask for help if needed, and reach out to others to offer your help

-Adjust your support network after a major life event
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