Florida is still reeling from the catastrophic damage of the 2017 hurricane season, but the new season has already arrived. Subtropical Storm Alberto made landfall in the Florida Panhandle on Memorial Day, bringing with it heavy rains and flash flooding. While those in St. Augustine were spared the brunt of the storm, Mother Nature has much more in store.
What to Expect
The 2018 Atlantic hurricane season officially began June 1, and it’s expected to last through November 30. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), storm frequency is likely to be normal or above-normal, although it’s still too early to accurately predict the true ferocity of the hurricane season. Here are the current predictions:
- Above-normal season – 35 percent
- Near-normal season – 40 percent
- Below-normal season – 25 percent
NOAA also offered an estimate of the number of storms and their severity:
In other words, the devastation caused by Hurricanes Irma, Maria and Harvey does not guarantee a calm hurricane season in 2018. On the other hand, NOAA is not predicting any sort of doomsday scenario.1
How Seniors Can Prepare
Many Floridians took issue with the way the state handled the 2017 hurricane season, and the most pressing calls for reform pertained to protecting local seniors. Older adults face additional struggles in emergency situations due to limited mobility and health concerns. Fortunately, there are a few steps seniors can take to get ready for the 2018 hurricane season.
Investigate your community – As of March 2018, many senior living communities, including assisted living residences and skilled nursing facilities, are required by law to have a backup generator. The generator must have enough fuel to keep the power running for 48 to 72 hours, depending on the type and size of the community, and the temperature must remain at or below 81 degrees for 96 hours after the power goes out. Make sure any community you join complies with these rules by the July 1, 2018 deadline.2
Create an emergency kit – You never know when a hurricane may strike, so it’s crucial you prepare in advance. Your kit should have all the necessities, including a week’s supply of food and water. Don’t forget to stock up on medications or medical supplies, and pack an extra pair of glasses. Seniors who require refrigerated medications, such as those who use insulin, should maintain an adequate supply of ice to ensure their medications can stay cold. Protect important documents in a waterproof container so they don’t get damaged.
Develop an evacuation plan – Roads become congested quickly once hurricane warnings are broadcast, so you should map out your route now. Familiarize yourself with your evacuation options and fill up your gas tank. See if you can stay with a family member or friend’s house or purchase a hotel room out of harm’s way. If you have specific medical needs, try to get pre-admitted to a facility that can accommodate them.
Have a pet plan – Many evacuation facilities, such as hospitals, will not allow your pet inside unless they are a service animal. Make sure you find a place for your pet to stay in case you must evacuate. Consider microchipping them so they will be easier to find if they get lost.
Get flood insurance – If you own property, make sure potential flood damage is covered by purchasing separate flood insurance. Most policies do not offer coverage until a month after purchase, so don’t wait too long.
Additional information about hurricane preparedness can be found in the American Red Cross “Disaster Preparedness For Seniors By Seniors” PDF or at FloridaDisaster.org.
Stay Prepared at Silver Creek
We understand that hurricane season may cause some concern for our residents and their loved ones, but you can rest assured that our caregivers have residents’ best interests at heart, especially during an emergency. Silver Creek offers assisted living, memory care and respite care, so we’re well equipped to care for seniors with a wide range of medical needs. We also provide quality on-site services and amenities, such as dining options, a salon and a wellness clinic. Contact us online or call today at 800-940-0988 to schedule a community visit.
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