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American Red Cross Preparedness Tips for Seniors

American Red Cross Preparedness Tips for Seniors.

The Importance of a Personal Support Network

The American Red Cross recommends that senior citizens create a personal support network made up of several individuals who will check in on you in an emergency, to ensure your wellness and to give assistance if needed. This network can consist of friends, roommates, family members, relatives, personal attendants, co-workers and neighbors. Ideally, a minimum of three people can be identified at each location where you regularly spend time, for example at work, home, school or volunteer site.

There are seven important items to discuss and implement with a personal support network:

1. Make arrangements, prior to an emergency, for your support network to immediately check on you after a disaster and, if needed, offer assistance.

2. Exchange important keys.

3. Show them where you keep emergency supplies.

4. Share copies of your relevant emergency documents, evacuation plans and emergency health information card.

5. Agree on and practice methods for contacting each other in an emergency. Do not count on the telephones working.

6. You and your personal support network should always notify each other when you are going out of town and when you will return.

7. The relationship should be mutual. You have a lot to contribute! Learn about each other's needs and how to help each other in an emergency. You might take responsibility for food supplies and preparation, organizing neighborhood watch meetings and interpreting, among other things.

Other Ways to Stay Safe

Subscribe to Lifeline

Knowing that you can’t always be there when a loved one might need you, the Red Cross is proud to offer Lifeline. The Lifeline service allows people to get access to fast help, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year with the push of a button. Learn more here.

Get Informed

Want to know what else you can do to better care for your loved ones as they get older? You can start by purchasing a copy of our Family Caregiving reference guide and learn what you can do to improve home safety, encourage healthy eating and prepare for legal and financial issues. Download our Disaster Preparedness guide so you both can prepare for emergencies.


Many children visit their grandparents often; they may even live with you. The following safety advice for children can help grandparents prepare a safe environment at home for children:

  • Store matches and lighters up high in locked cabinets, away from children.
  • Install plastic covers over all exposed electrical outlets.
  • Move cleaning chemicals like cleansers, soap, drain cleaner and other poisons to high cupboards OR install a childproof lock if you must keep these items in low cabinets.
  • Store prescription medicines and over-the-counter drugs like aspirin, cough medicines and stomachache remedies in a cabinet out of reach of children.
  • If children are playing outside or in a pool when skies grow dark or you hear thunder, have them come indoors right away.
  • Children Can Help Grandparents, Too

  • Have children test each smoke alarm in your home to make sure it is working by using a broom handle to push the test button.
  • Ask children to draw a floor plan of your home and show two ways out of every room in case of fire.
  • Ask your grandchildren to help you assemble your disaster supplies kit and get them to assemble one for their family at the same time.
  • About the American Red Cross:

    The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies about 40 percent of the nation's blood; teaches skills that save lives; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a not-for-profit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit or visit us on Twitter at @RedCrossNY.