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Hurricane-season ready

The elderly, pets require extra prep

Everyone knows by now that during hurricane season, you should have plans for an emergency evacuation and at least enough food, water, batteries/ generators, flashlights, etc. to survive a few days if disaster strikes. You should evaluate your situation and decide what you will do as far in advance as possible because once a hurricane makes landfall, it may be too late for emergency personnel to reach you. This is especially critical for the elderly.

The elderly need someone to help them with advance evacuation plans. They may want to “ride out a storm” in their homes. However, evacuation often is the best option because you never can reliably predict whether the power supply will be interrupted. Bear in mind that if you delay, routes leading away from the storm will be crowded, meaning it could take hours longer than normal to drive to another town or state. Also, the unbearable heat during a hurricane may be too much for the elderly to handle without air conditioning. Therefore, an evacuation decision should be made and implemented early.

The elderly may find it difficult to travel in a car for hours, potentially enduring long stretches without bathrooms and other services. They may have other special needs and devices they rely on, such as walkers or oxygen, which can complicate travel plans. When arranging an evacuation, plan to have essential items in the car, which may include a method to use the bathroom while on the road, as well as adequate water and snacks, and, of course, any necessary medications or oxygen.

It is preferable to have an extra supply of medication on hand if possible. If not, make sure to bring prescription bottles so they can be refilled in a different location. Just bringing sufficient medicine for a few days may not be enough.

If any pets are traveling with you, it’s also important to visit the veterinarian before leaving town. To board them or get them medical attention away from home, you must have their vaccination records.

Before that hurricane enters the Gulf, be as ready as possible to avoid a last-minute panic.


Written by Kathy Van Zutphen

Kathy Brown van Zutphen of Coastwide Law LLC is an attorney licensed to practice law in Alabama and Mississippi. She focuses on the “elder law” areas of trusts, estates and conservatorships. Additionally, she litigates lawsuits and represents small business owners as part of her legal practice. Visit to learn more or reach her at her office: (228) 357-5227.

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