We’re now deep into hurricane season, which started June 1st and runs through November 30.

All retirement communities are required by law to have hurricane preparedness plans and adequate supplies on hand.  “It is imperative that seniors know exactly what to do in the event of a significant storm headed their way, in order to build their confidence and turn a potentially devastating event into nothing more than a good story to tell,” recommends Director of Sales of the East Ridge Retirement Community at Cutler Bay, Rick Drew.

East Ridge at Cutler Bay management and staff are well trained in disaster preparedness.  At the beginning of each hurricane season emergency drills are practiced so that the team can be ready for any weather-related problems. Their advance planning yields excellent tips for both caregivers and families.

Here are some of the points on the East Ridge hurricane checklist that can be utilized by others:

Seniors need a hurricane preparedness kit consisting of essential supplies that will last for a minimum of five days including water, nonperishable food and juice, a manual can opener, a battery powered radio, prescription medications, a flashlight and toiletries.

Another kit, or “Go Bag” should be prepared for evacuation on short notice, with copies of identification, cash, credit cards, extra keys to car and house, important papers such as birth certificate, Medicare cards, and insurance papers.  Airtight plastic bags should protect these items from getting wet.

Have an advance plan of communication established with the family as to how all family members can be reassured of each other’s safety and whereabouts.  Include a friend or relative outside the area who can serve as a conduit for communication if local lines are down or overwhelmed.

If your parents live in a retirement community; know in advance what their storm procedures are and how you will know that they are safe.

At East Ridge, residents benefit from on-site generators, hurricane shutters and designated safe areas within East Ridge where residents can gather safe from the elements with sufficient food & water.

East Ridge’s new health center (currently under construction), is being built to weather a Category 3 hurricane.  The community’s grounds and environmental departments are ready to leap into action for post-hurricane clean-up, while residents are kept safe and secure.

According to Rick Drew, “I’ll never forget a former condominium resident telling us that for three days she was confined to her apartment without electricity after the last hurricane in South Florida. The elevator wasn’t working and she couldn’t get down from her 4th floor apartment. No one was even able to check on her. That convinced her to move into a senior community.  She vowed never to go it alone through hurricane season again.”