May is Senior/Elderly “Preparedness Buddy” month.
Truth be told, many of us have often perceived the Senior/Elderly demographic as being less productive, and less able-bodied after entering “elderly” status. Yet *recent studies show that , Seniors overall, are among the most lively , continually productive, and “preparedness-strong” adults among us!
Baby Boomers have actually benefited from better health exposures in their formative years:
Less processed food, more outdoor activity exposure, more 1 on 1 social interaction. These formative years exposures have provided long-term benefits as we proceed into the 55+ category.
Society benefits in recognizing the enduring value of our elders:
- · They’re a source of wit, wisdom, and common sense; much needed in today’s society.
- · Our most elderly seniors have overcome adversity, and found ways to revive and thrive, even in the aftermath of calamitous world events: World Wars, Vietnam, Domestic Civil Unrest, Pandemics. They have survival insights worth hearing, preserving, and sharing.
Our younger generations especially need such knowledge, to fortify their ability to revive and thrive amidst similar at-risk events and daily challenges of post-pandemic life. In order words, “don’t give up”, as their elders learned to do!
- · If Granny or Grandpops still has a landline, they are a gold mine! Give them a hug! When #SHTF (stuff hits the fan) and cell towers are down, those landlines (copper based) can become a life saver.
Senior adults do face unique challenges with getting older, such as living alone . Many elders live alone, for various reasons, which doesn't always mean they're lonely, by the way! However, during at-risk events, whether personal or of civil emergency in nature, the condition of living alone can have adverse consequences.
This month PerennialNC focuses on ways to make sure your eldest family members are given well deserved consideration in your Family Safety and Communications Planning.
Here are 5 Tips to Make Sure that family elders are in the communications loop, not just during at-risk events, but throughout the year!
- 1. Establish a “Preparedness Buddy” for family seniors, either a family member who has contact information for your family senior. If the family “Buddy” member does not live within minutes of the senior, make sure the “Buddy” has the phone number of a neighboring friend, who can check on the Senior family member and relay back to the Buddy, as to their health & safety status.
- 2. Make sure the Senior member, ideally, has two forms of communication, with a landline phone and a cell phone. Low cost or FREE (with eligibility requirement) smart phones for seniors are offered by offered by various providers.
5 Ways to Get Low-Cost & Free Cell Phones for Seniors (moneydoneright.com)
Lifeline Service in the State of North Carolina (assurancewireless.com)
- 3. Engage responsible youth and young adults in the family to be a “Preparedness Buddy”. Bridging the gap between Baby Boomers, and Gen X,Y,Z has never been more important to the well-being of both age groups.
Some things you do for love and legacy, not because it’s easy. When young people and young adults engage with their elders, it fortifies their communication skills, empathy, compassion, and thankfulness. Many elders have often been a “sanctuary” of help and nurturing, during the upbringing of grandchildren. I know my mother was, for her grands! Don’t let children forget that!
Wake County Sheriff’s Office reactivates senior wellness check program
- 4. For parents living alone, reach out to Public Safety Agencies. Most have Well-Check programs that check on elder family members regularly. If there is no response, they follow up with the person listed as contact. That person should be the “Preparedness Buddy.”
To sign up for program call 984-298-1363
- 5. “Where’s Granny?” Your Family Safety and Emergency Communications plan should include “What if…” scenarios if a widespread civil emergency occurs in YOUR area. Your evacuation destination should be to the eldest person in your family, no matter that you have 5 kids in tow!
Why? In a civil emergency, you go to the aid of the “weakest link” in your family that has also been affected. In this case, your mother or father, or grandparent, if they are still living. They, not you, will be the persons of greatest need for continuity of communication and rescue.
A tornado occurs in your area that knocks out all services and you have to evacuate. This is not contrived! It happens all too often every year in hurricane prone states!
You have no communication in your immediate area. Your parent(s) or grandparent resides in an area and has also been affected. Do you go to a shelter as directed? Where’s Granny? If he/she has been evacuated to another shelter, would that not be the priority where you should go?
There are so many possible scenarios! Yet, there’s no worse feeling than acting out of desperation when you don’t have a plan for communication every family member, especially family elders, for any possible eventuality!
On the other hand, there’s no greater feeling of empowerment than planning beforehand, what to do in various family safety and emergency scenarios. Yes, there is no perfect preparedness plan. You do all you can, then STAND. If you are a person of faith, prayer is surely your "Spiritual 9-1-1."
Important note: Some folks think that talking about these matters somehow attracts their occurrence. Or that faith is sufficient to “ward” off calamity. #SHTF happens. Don’t bury your head in the sand. Yes, do Pray. Then Prepare and Plan!
Visit Ready.gov for a variety of Family Safety & Communication Downloadable and Fill-In Plans
An online “virtual hub” is the perfect place to do this planning, preparing, and harboring all information in one place, so that all family members have access to it, and know what to do, should such events arise. Everyone in the family should have a “Preparedness Buddy”, seniors of the family should be Prime Directive #1 to have a “Buddy.”
During the month of May, we will have two FREE sessions on how to create a “Family Hub” or Family Foxhole as I call it for my family! Register at https://preparednessstrong.wildapricot.org/PopUpRegister
Meanwhile celebrate the Grands of your family. Were it not for their survival, where would you be?
I am also available to give Presentations on Creating a “Family Hub” to family groups, and non-profits. For more information complete my Contact form at PerennialNC. – Pam Kelly, Perennial Preparedness NC
*Sources: Study: Elders today are in significantly better shape-physically and cognitively-than three decades ago - SharpBrains