4 Lessons for Older Adults From Hurricane Ian

The devastation from Hurricane Ian continues to shock those of us in Southwest Florida as well as those around the U.S. who have seen news images of its damage. Although the Bradenton/Sarasota area was not the main area of impact, there were initial weather reports that our area could have been the target. Watching our neighbors in Nort Port, Port Charlotte, Fort Myers Beach, and other impacted areas has been heartbreaking.

Here are a few surprising facts about Hurricane Ian:

  • It was the fifth-largest storm to make landfall in the U.S. 
  • The storm caused 3.4 million power outages, not jut in Florida but other affected states. In Cuba, power was knocked out for everyone on the island.
  • Anticipated losses from Hurricane Ian are projected to reach more than $60 billion.
  • There were more than 119 deaths from Ian, many of them older adults who drowned.

Older adults in particular can take some lessons from Ian’s damage for future hurricanes. Here are some lessons learned for seniors when it comes to other hurricanes:

  1. Don’t rely on previous storm experiences for future storms. Due to climate change, the storms happening now and in the future will likely be more catastrophic, as witnessed by Ian. They will include more intense rainfall and greater storm surge. Even if your senior loved one is a long-time Floridian who’s survived many hurricanes, remind them that the storms going forward will cause more damage. 
  2. Evacuate if told to do so. We’ve all seen videos or read stories about people who didn’t leave their homes despite evacuation orders. While some people made out just fine, depending on where they live, others weathered horrible flooding and wind. (Just read this story about a Fort Myers grandmother who helped her husband with Parkinson’s disease and their dog literally ride out the storm in several feet of storm water in and around their home.) Those who didn’t survive often drowned due to storm surges. Bottom line: Listen to the evacuation orders, even if it means just going a couple of miles away to a safer place. It’s better to be safe than sorry.
  3. Find special-needs shelters if necessary. A special-needs shelter will help those who have disabilities or health concerns that often cannot be handled by a general shelter. For instance, this would be the right shelter to go to if your senior loved one is on oxygen or needs electricity for medical devices. Check with your local county or city to find out which shelters can accommodate special needs. You can also register here for a special-needs shelter in Florida. 
  4. Don’t forget the pets. With more and more of us living with four-legged loved ones, consider what their needs are in a hurricane. This article from the Florida Department of Emergency Management details what to consider when evacuating with a pet. Here’s a video that will give you more details on keeping pets safe during hurricanes. There also are always shelters in our area that are pet-friendly. The time to do the research on pet preparation is before you need it.

For more hurricane prep tips geared toward older adults, check out the following advice from the Red Cross.

Call Secure Aging to Find Out How We Can Help Seniors With Financial Management

At Secure Aging in Bradenton, we transform the weight of the world into a sigh of relief for our senior clients and their concerned family members. The mission of Secure Aging is to protect and preserve our client’s independence and dignity through careful and thoughtful financial and care management. As our clients age, it is their desire to remain independent and age with dignity. Our services protect our clients from talented con artists looking to exploit and deplete the financial resources of our vulnerable seniors. Secure Aging helps families in Manatee County and Sarasota County and in and around the communities of Anna Maria, Bradenton, Bradenton Beach, Ellenton, Holmes Beach, Lakewood Ranch, Longboat Key, Myakka City, Palmetto, Parrish, and Sarasota. Call us at 941-761-9338, or visit us online at www.secureaging.com.

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