If you are an older adult, you may face challenges during an emergency due to mobility issues or if family members or friends are unable to reach you. Older adults may face additional challenges, such as hearing or vision problems or cognitive impairment, which may make it difficult to access, understand, or respond to emergency instructions. Normally available support services may also be limited.


  • The first step in preparing for an emergency is having a plan. Work with family, friends, and neighbors to develop a plan that fits your needs. Choose a contact person who will check on you in an emergency or disaster. Decide how you will communicate with each other.
  • Create a support network of people who can notify and/or assist you during an emergency. Make sure that someone in your personal support network has an extra key to your home and knows where you keep your emergency supplies.
  • Money (ATMs or online services may be unavailable)
  • Copies of important documents such as driver’s licenses, birth certificates, insurance policies, and financial information
  • Can opener, plates, and utensils
  • Flashlight, battery-operated radio, and extra batteries for each
  • Extra clothing and bedding


A disaster can disrupt mail service for days or weeks. If you depend on Social Security or other regular benefits switching to electronic payments is a simple, important way to protect yourself financially before disaster strikes. It also eliminates the risk of stolen checks. The U.S. Department of the Treasury recommends two safer ways to get federal benefits:

  • Direct deposit to a checking or savings account. If you get federal benefits you can sign up by calling 800-333-1795 or sign up online.
  • The Direct Express® prepaid debit card is designed as a safe and easy alternative to paper.