Senior Planning

Cliff Williams / The Herald Alabama Extension At Alabama A&M university Virginia Caples Lifelong Learning Institue’s Danielle Rudolph welcomes residents to the Successful Aging Initiative’s PLAN meeting. The program presented local elderly residents with tools to plan for disasters.

Elmore County senior citizens hope they never have to experience a disaster but just in case, they are planning for the worst.

The Elmore County Successful Aging Initiative hosted ‘PLAN,’ a program to give seniors the tools to “Develop, Analyze, Manage, Change” for anything that might come up in life — especially disasters.

“We are focusing on emergency preparedness,” Virginia Caples Lifelong Learning Institute Alabama Extension at Alabama A&M University Site Director Danielle Rudolph said. “We realized most of the weather events that have happened, there has been some effect on the elderly.”

Rudolph said the idea is simple: sit down while things are calm and assess the environment someone is in and what resources are available for various situations. 

“We want to encourage everyone to plan, develop a plan, analyze the plan,” Rudolph said. “We want them to change it as needed. Everyone needs a plan to execute in emergencies, whether it's a weather emergency or family crisis or whatever it may be.”

Elmore County Commissioner Henry Hines believes planning helps get anyone through the “bumps and bruises” of life.

“Whether it is a good moment or bad moment, we can handle that by how we react and take care of everything — our families and friends,” Hines said. “Being a senior citizen, planning is something we need to do everyday to take a moment to check on our relatives and friends who are elderly.”

The Alabama Extension Service at Auburn University’s Extension Specialist for Community Workforce, Leadership and Economic Development Dr. Matt Ulmer led a program on weather and disaster preparedness. Ulmer said reacting to an unexpected event can be difficult but there are ways to develop a response ahead of time.

Sign up for Tribune Newsletters

“It’s consuming when you see the devastation and impact weather can have on households,” Ulmer said. “The best medicine we can put forward is to be prepared. A plan will make sure you know exactly what to do when something happens. You will know where to shelter, escape routes from your home to your safe place.”

In the Southeast residents can expect hurricanes and thunderstorms which can produce tornadoes, lightning, hail, damaging winds like straight line winds and heavy rain and flooding. 

“Alabama is the fifth most likely state to experience severe weather,” Ulmer said. “There is only one type of disaster Alabama can not have — volcano erupting. It is important for us to be prepared and have reasonable plans in place.”

Each household at the event received a weather radio and given tips on assessing homes and buildings when shelter is needed from storms and other disasters. The American Red Cross presented a program on building a disaster preparedness kit. The extension service and the Alabama Licensure Board warned everyone about potential fraud after disasters. Others presented information about important documents and how to organize them ahead of any disaster to be better prepared in case of a needed response.

Just like various Successful Aging Initiative Programs, other partners were on head to help senior citizens with most any service. Those agencies included the Alabama Department of Public Health, Baptist Health, Central Alabama Aging Consortium, Hillview Terrace, Omega Global Brokers and Right at Home.

The program, presenters and exhibitors fit right into the mission of the initiative.

“The Successful Aging Initiative started about 20 years ago as a way to bring resources together for older adults,” Rudolph said. “We tried to put in one place where we have medical, education and more, but also have outlets for fun activities along with it.”