We at Collier Home Care (CHC) want you to stay safe during this challenging period of hurricanes and COVID-19. CHC is a private duty home care company located in Naples, Florida, and is licensed to provide companion care, personal, and skilled nursing care in Collier, Lee, and Charlotte counties. We are a local, family-owned company that is licensed, bonded, and insured. To learn more about Collier Home Care please call our main office line at (239) 920-3902 or visit us online at www.collierhomecare.com. We are more than happy to discuss your current needs with you and help you determine what level of care you need.

We encourage you to read the following guidance on hurricane preparations!

How to Stay Prepared During Hurricane Season For Seniors

Hurricane season is not an easy time of year for the people living in susceptible areas such as Naples, Florida. The advantage a hurricane has over other natural events like earthquakes and fires is time. It takes time for hurricanes to form and make landfall which means people have time to prepare. Keep reading to learn how to stay prepared during hurricane season.

Pack a Go Bag or Box

A go-bag or go-box is a cornerstone of hurricane preparedness. The contents of your bag or box will vary depending on your needs. But Ready.gov recommends having a few basics in there.

For two people, you should prepare:

  • Two masks
  • Hand sanitizer (60% alcohol minimum)
  • Soap bar or liquid soap
  • Sanitizing wipes (If available)
  • Emergency medication supply
  • Medical supplies (if applicable)
  • First aid kit
  • Food
  • Water
  • Radio
  • Fully charged portable chargers for cell phones and devices.
  • Flashlights
  • Batteries
  • Personal items
  • Important documents

For Pets:

  • Food
  • Water
  • Leash
  • Collar
  • Carrier, seatbelt, or harness for the car.
  • Medications and treatments (if applicable)
  • Copy of vet records

How Caregivers Can Help Seniors Prepare

Caregivers can also assist with hurricane preparations by creating bags or boxes with the list mentioned above for clients and themselves. Other things not on the list above may be needed such as a wheelchair, hearing aids, wound supplies, or special medical equipment. Get emergency quantities to include in the go-bag if possible. For supplies unable to be packed, keep them close at hand to grab easily. Don’t forget to make copies of medical cards and records as appropriate in case the client needs medical treatment.

Reach out to transportation companies early if clients require evacuation by special transport or ambulance so they can help evacuate quickly. Keep medical alert bracelets or other wearable ID bands on the client just in case they are separated from you.

Stay Informed and Make a Plan

Before a hurricane hits, make sure to keep up to date on the latest information. This starts with understanding your risk. Since a pandemic is going on, staying home has been the safest place to be. But a hurricane can change that. Due to the high winds, rain, and water that hurricanes generate, riding out a storm at home has its risks. Listen to the latest news to know when a hurricane watch and hurricane evacuation are called for your area so you know when to leave. Evacuations may happen by zone so look up your zone as well.

Next, determine what your evacuation route will be. There may be more than one way to leave your area. So make a plan that incorporates one of them and back up plans that incorporate the others in case a route doesn’t work out.

Know where shelters will be located outside of the evacuation zone. Due to the pandemic, shelter locations may be different from previous years. Identify other safe places to stay as well such as another relative’s home, a friend’s house, or a hotel to stay at.
Most importantly, decide early whether you will stay or go, especially with elderly people who need care and assistance. Prevent getting stuck on an evacuation route or at home by being proactive.

Caregivers can assist with companion home care, personal home care, and skilled nursing home care before, during, or following a hurricane. Companion care consists of companionship, meal preparation, grocery shopping, errands, medication reminding, light housekeeping, laundry, and pet care. Personal care provided by a certified nursing assistant (CNA) or home health aide (HHA) entails hands-on or stand by assistance with the activities of daily living (ADLs) such as bathing, dressing, toileting, transferring, walking, grooming, and feeding. Skilled nursing care consists of a licensed practical nurse (LPN) or registered nurse (RN) assisting with skilled activities such as nursing assessments, nursing oversight, medication management, medication administration, med box fills, wound care, home safety inspections, care after surgery, blood sugar testing, and injections.

Stay Safe While Evacuated

Observe social distancing while evacuated and continue to wash hands often. Don’t forget to wear a mask while around other people who don’t live with you. If you do stay in a shelter, disinfect frequently touched surfaces and items.

After You Return

After the storm, cleaning up your home might be necessary, and a caregiver may come in handy. Make sure to wear masks and gloves during the clean-up process and wash your hands often. A caregiver can help with light housekeeping such as vacuuming, mopping, wiping down counters, putting dishes away, sanitizing surfaces, dusting, and laundry. Power and water may take time to restore if they are out. For those who choose to use a generator, make sure to use them outside only and to keep doors open to prevent carbon monoxide build-up.

If you experienced a medical issue or injury while evacuated, get medical treatment recommendations from your provider. Any wounds you have must be kept clean until they can be attended to prevent infection. If you do need ongoing medical treatment, having an LPN and RN in place should be a priority for you.
Be aware that rats or mice may have attempted to get inside your home. Watch for any rodent activity and take measures to get rid of them if necessary.
Preparing for and staying safe during a hurricane takes work, planning, and thought. If you need help or assistance preparing for the storm or evacuating, reach out to a trusted friend or family member. Taking these measures to prepare for a current storm as well as future storms will help you through this natural event time and again.