Tips for Managing Water during an Emergency

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September is National Preparedness Month. This is the ideal month for you to focus your caregiver efforts on making sure that your elderly parent is properly prepared in the event that an emergency situation occurs. Seniors who are suffering from cognitive, medical, mobility, or other issues are particularly vulnerable to serious consequences related to emergencies and disasters, making it essential that you take the time to ensure that they are as prepared as possible. This will help to keep them safer, healthier, and more comfortable before, during, and after the emergency.

One of the most important preparations that you will make for an emergency is ensuring that your aging parent has enough potable water available. This will provide drinking water as well as water for sanitation in the event that the emergency or disaster stops the availability of running water or compromises the health and safety of the water in your parent’s area. The Department of Homeland Security recommends that basic emergency kits contain no less than one gallon of water per person, per day for a minimum of three days. It is preferable that they have more than three days’ worth of water available, and that they have water in the home for you or a care provider in the event that there is someone in the home with them during the emergency.

Purchasing water for emergency use is only the beginning of making sure that they have the supplies that they need in the event of an emergency. You must also ensure that this water is properly managed to keep it safe and healthy.


Use these tips to manage your parent’s emergency water supplies:

  • Drink according to needs. Unless the authorities have specifically ordered that drinking water be rationed, it is essential that your aging parent drink according to their needs. They should not keep themselves thirsty or dehydrated only for the purpose of maintaining water supplies “in case” for the next day. Elderly people tend to have lower water needs than younger people, but they still should drink enough to keep them properly hydrated. They should never drink fewer than four cups a day.
  • Drink safe water first. Your parent should always start with their emergency water supplies rather than treating water and keeping their “safe” water for later. Drinking the safe, healthy water first ensures that they stay as healthy as possible and then they can focus on treating water or finding clean water in another way later should their supplies run out.
  • Know when to turn off the valve. Make sure that your parent knows how to turn off the main water valve so that they can manage this important procedure in the event that there is an emergency and you are not in the home with them. They should know how to listen for reports of contaminated water so that they know when to turn off this valve.
  • Avoid carbonated beverages. Discourage your parent from drinking carbonated beverages rather than water. These beverages do not count toward their daily water needs and can actually draw fluid from the body, putting your parent at greater risk of dehydration.


If you or an aging loved one are considering caregiver services in Islip, NY, please contact the caring staff at Family First Home Companions. Serving all of Long Island. Call today: (631) 319-3961

Jennifer Benjamin
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