Comforting Children and the Elderly

Hurricane Preparedness: Comforting Children And The Elderly

Once you have created your emergency plan and prepared your emergency kit, you may have to help others who require assistance or support during a disaster. Here are some tips for comforting children and the elderly in the wake of an emergency. 

Comforting Children

  • Have a plan. Children will feel prepared and relieved if they feel the adults in their lives have taken reasonable precautions to protect them from harm.
  • Parents should manage their own anxiety. If the adults are anxious the children will be also. Calm, supportive reactions from parents in anticipation of evacuations/crises will go along way to alleviate stress responses in children.
  • Monitor media exposure. Parents need information, but 24/7 television news exposure is going overboard, and can be overwhelming and anxiety-provoking especially for young children.

Comforting the Elderly

  • Provide strong and persistent verbal reassurance
  • Accompany or arrange for companions
  • Give special attention to suitable relocation, ideally in familiar surroundings with friends and family
  • Help re-establish medication regimens. Many older persons may rely on drugs to keep emotional balance or treat chronic illnesses. Helpers should recognize the need for obtaining early information on.
  • Recognize medical concerns:
    • Arthritis may prevent an elder from standing in line.
    • Medications can cause confusion or a greater susceptibility to problems such as dehydration.
    • Memory disorders can cause communication problems
    • Extremes of heat or cold have marked effects upon older persons

Visit the Get A Game Plan website for more information on hurricane preparedness.