Any long-time resident of the Sunshine State knows that hurricane season, which runs between June 1 and November 30, can present serious risks to Florida homeowners. Aside from structural damage to homes and properties, downed trees and power lines can create critical issues for seniors who live alone and require assistance with daily living or special medical attention.
If you've been on the fence about moving an aging family member into a Florida senior living community, now is the time to do it. Most senior living communities in this area have a thorough hurricane preparedness plan that can better anticipate the needs of seniors with ongoing medical or mobility conditions.
Here’s what you need to know if you’re looking to move your loved one to an independent or assisted living facility during hurricane season.
Ask about the community’s hurricane preparedness plan
There are many things a facility should take into consideration if they are going to keep seniors safe during a natural disaster. Here’s what to ask about when contacting and researching facilities.
The facility should have a plan for when to encourage residents to evacuate and facilitate an evacuation.
Losing power for an extended period is inconvenient for anyone, but it can lead to critical health issues for the elderly if they require medical devices that run on electricity or medications such as insulin that must remain cold.
Florida state law requires that all communities have a backup generator that is sufficient for all residents. Find out the fuel source and capacity for the community's generator and the plan to help residents if power fails.
When you combine the stress of a natural disaster with loss of utilities and potential wind and water damage, there are typically increased risks of severe medical issues. Find out what their plan is for on-site medical treatment and transportation for those residents who experience a medical issue during or after the storm.
Do they have an arrangement with a private nursing company, a local hospital, or do they maintain a staff equipped to treat chronic or emergency medical issues during or after a hurricane?
Food and water
Since senior living communities may provide regular meals for residents, it’s important that the facility has a plan in place for ensuring seniors will have access to adequate food and water during a hurricane. This includes accommodations for any special dietary considerations.
While the health and safety of the residents will of course be the primary concern of the community, it’s also important that they have a plan in place to communicate with worried family members.
Find out the facility’s plan to get in touch with family members during a natural disaster and what resources are available for family members to use to check up on their loved ones.
Moving your loved one into a senior community before hurricane season
Many seniors worry about their ability to stay safe during a natural disaster if they are living in a community. To help them feel more confident in the decision to move, it’s best to involve them in the decision-making process.
Give them the details of the hurricane preparedness plan for the various options to help ease their concerns. This shows that you respect them and want them to have a say in the decisions being made about their future.
Be prepared to hold multiple discussions to further increase their level of comfort in the upcoming changes and to help them take ownership of the decision. When you approach these discussions with love and patience, it can create a more positive experience for everyone involved.
If you need help finding the right senior living community for your loved one, Welcome Home Senior Services & Placement Co. offers free concierge services to help you choose the perfect assisted living, independent living, or memory care facility in Florida. Contact us today to discuss your needs.