FEMA’s Ready campaign urges older adults to prepare for emergencies

Published 11:09 am Tuesday, January 2, 2024

Over the last 20 years, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has designed a series of campaigns to meet the needs of specific communities, and this year’s Ready campaign focuses on older adults.

The campaign urges older adults and their caregivers to take three simple steps to prepare for an emergency: 1) assess needs, 2) make a plan and 3) engage support networks.

This is the first time FEMA has created a campaign to reach older adults with tailored messaging and information specifically for them. In addition to a public service campaign, FEMA has also released an older adults guide which is available by going to ready.gov/older-adults, to ensure that the content is accessible to them.

The guide provides easy-to-read, user-friendly worksheets that walk individuals and caregivers through a self-assessment to identify specific needs and checklists that create a personalized plan.

In addition to the version for adults, FEMA says they also have a booklet for children, who can help their grandparents or older adults with preparedness tips. You can go to: Prepare with Pedro | Ready.gov, to find out more.

“While older adults may be more vulnerable to disaster consequences–especially if they are living alone, are low-income, have a disability or live in rural areas–they can also be force-multipliers for preparedness,” said FEMA Administrator Deanne Criswell. “I encourage everyone, especially older adults, to engage your support networks on emergency planning, because your friends, family and neighbors depend as much on you as you do on them.”

According to FEMA, Kentucky currently has an older adult population of 17.6%, and by the year 2035, the U.S. Census Bureau projects that there will be more Americans over the age of 65 than are under the age of 18. Over the next decade, therefore, FEMA says it is imperative that the growing older adult population become more aware of their risks and better prepared for them.