Experts: preparing elderly for natural disasters is more about communication than packing

Tonya Rodriguez-Hodges prepares her elderly father, Victor, as Hurricane Florence approaches.

Tanya Rodriguez-Hodges is always prepared.

"We are never NOT ready for any type of emergency," Rodriguez-Hodges tells WACH FOX News.

She's one of the care takers for her elderly father victor, "He’ll tell you '92 and sexy!'"

According to Rodriguez-Hodges, it’s all about communication when preparing your elderly loved one for a natural disaster.

"It’s not about us, it’s about them," she explains.

Dr. Macie Smith agrees. She urges against using threats to get a senior citizen to leave their home.

"Seniors need to be treated with dignity and respect in all sense and all aspects," says Smith, "This is a fearful time for all of us. It’s even more sensitive for them because they may not know what’s happening and what's going to be the long term."

The senior care strategist says many senior citizens do not want to leave their homes because they have already lived through something major.

She recommends using something positive to get them to leave such as saying "We want to go check on family" or "We want everyone to be together."

"Give them the opportunity to be receptive to the idea," explains Smith.

Once you’ve communicated a proper game plan with your loved one, securing medications is next on the list.

"We are now doing two weeks in advance so we are ready to roll," says Rodriguez-Hodges.

Dr. smith recommends going to the pharmacy with an insurance card to request a 7-10 day supply of medications.

"Or they can contact their Medicare part D provider to let them know they are in a state of emergency and that they need assistant with additional medications," Smith explains.

Both say creating a calm and natural environment will make it easier for your loved one, which is why Rodriguez-Hodges has her father's music ready and his favorite meals and snacks in place.

"This is their space where they feel safe and we are taking them out of their space so we have to make it more palatable for them to understand."

According to both women, you should include non perishable foods and important documents when packing for the elderly.

Dr. Smith says that paperwork can be stored in a zip block baggy so it doesn't get wet.

Experts also recommend packing blankets and three sets of clothing.

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