Keeping seniors healthy during a natural disaster is very different from your everyday diet. Because older adults spend more energy during an emergency preparation, it is important that they consume high-calorie, high-protein foods during this time. Some meals should be tailored to their individual needs if they have a medical condition such as diabetes, hypertension or difficulty chewing, so it is imperative to be aware of any chronic condition they may have. In an emergency, the top priority is to get enough calories and stay hydrated. Plan to pack 3-5 days worth of food if evacuating and 14-days worth of food if staying put at home. Don’t forget your can opener!
Here is a list of non-perishable food items to help you and your loved one stay healthy during an emergency:
- Bottled Water – This should be your number one priority. FEMA recommends at least one gallon of water per person (and pet) each day for hydrating and preparing certain foods. Above all, proper hydration is key to survival.
- Peanut Butter – A great source of energy, healthy fats and proteins. Needs no refrigeration after opening.
- Whole-Wheat Crackers – Fiber is an essential part of a healthy diet during a disaster, wheat crackers are low in fat and make a great bread substitute.
- Nuts & Trail Mixes – Packed with heart-healthy nuts, antioxidant-rich berries, and superfoods, trail mix is an excellent snack option.
- Cereal – Cereals are rich in complex carbohydrates (starches), which older adults need for energy to make it through the entire day. Choose multi-grain cereals, if stored properly they can have a longer shelf life.
- Granola Bars and Power Bars – Food bars are a healthy portable snack that can stay fresh for at least 6 months and require no preparation.
- Dried Fruits – A sweet and tasty way to get dietary fiber, potassium and nutrients such as vitamins and antioxidants.
- Canned tuna, salmon, chicken, or turkey – Protein is critical to maintaining physical health during a natural disaster, white fish and tuna are a good source of animal protein without the heavy saturated fats and provide healthy Omega-3 fatty acids.
- Canned Vegetables – Canned vegetables are pre-cooked and highly nutritious. Stock a variety of colors including corn, beets, green peas, carrots, and artichoke hearts. Opt for low-sodium when possible.
- Canned Soups – Soups are a great way to boost the immune system, the high water content in soup can help keep you hydrated.
- Gatorade or Sport Drinks – The electrolytes and carbohydrates in these drinks will help keep you hydrated and replenish fluids when water is scarce.
- Powdered Milk – Most dairy products require refrigeration, powdered milk is an excellent source of Calcium and Vitamin D when fresh milk isn’t available.
- Multivitamins – Multivitamins will help replace nutrients you would have consumed on a normal diet. Gummy vitamins are a great chewable alternative, packed with a complete day’s worth of vitamins.
If you have an at-risk loved one residing in South Florida who may need assistance through the storm, please give us a call or send an email, we’re here to help.
Cohana Help Line – (954) 418-2832
Pre-register for special needs shelters, vulnerable population registries and other services for people who may need extra help:
Additional Emergency Resources:
- Centers for Disease Control
- Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)
- Ready America
- National Hurricane Center
- Red Cross
- Red Cross Hurricane Safety Checklist
- U.S. Department of Agriculture