QUESTION:  With all the fires, floods and storms that have occurred during the past year I have been thinking more about planning for an emergency – but I don’t know exactly where or how to start.  Do you have any suggestions?

  ANSWER:  Planning for any event takes a lot of time and hard work.  But planning for something that may or may not happen creates the need for a little more thought.  The planning should include what you need to do before the disaster, during the disaster and after the disaster.

  Some of the planning will be for all three stages while others may only be for one stage.  Some of this planning could also be for our everyday disaster free lives.

  Some of the planning, if not already in place, should include the completion of legal papers.  This would include wills, trusts, power of attorneys and advance directives for health care.  These should be kept in a safe place.

  Now let’s consider what we might need if a natural disaster hits our neighborhood.  We may find ourselves without ATM’s or the ability to make credit card transactions.  This would bring to mind the need to have cash available.

  It is suggested that you keep on hand enough cash to cover several days.  Some should be in one dollar bills and small change as merchants may not be able to accept credit cards or make change.

  This would also be the time to think about maintaining an emergency fund to cover a set period of time to cover basic living expenses.

  Now let’s consider the disaster is happening and we’ve been given 15 minutes to evacuate.  What should you consider taking and where will you have it stored.

  First you should have a fireproof box to hold these items and it should be in a location that is easily reached as you leave your residence.

  This box should include important papers including insurance papers, financial records, extra checks, safe deposit key, prescriptions for drugs being taken, valuable jewelry and items and perhaps some sentimental items and photographs.

  You should have an inventory of your household possessions, an up-to-date name and address file of important contacts.

  While getting these items together so they can be included in the “emergency   box” take time to review them to determine if they are up-to-date or need to be updated.  For example, make sure your insurance policies have the coverage you want.  Many of these items may take time to get into place – so planning and acting in advance is a wise move.  Now is the time to make sure everything is in order.


HAPPENINGS – (10-21 thru 10-27)

  TUESDAY – October 23 – 4:00 to 5:30 pm – Seminar – The Path to Positive Aging Series – “The Ins and Outs of Long Term Care” – at Senior Concerns Day Care Center, 401 Hodencamp Road in Thousand Oaks.  For reservations call (805) 497-0189.

  THURSDAY – October 25 – 1:30 to 2:30 – Presentation – “Age Well, Drive Smart” – at Simi Valley Senior Center, 3900 Avenida Simi in Simi Valley.  For reservations call (805) 583-6363.

  FRIDAY – October 26 – 9:00 am to 1:00 pm – Workshop – “Dealing with Dementia – A Caregiver’s Guide” – an interactive workshop that will prepare caregivers for challenges they may encounter – at Goebel Adult Community Center, 1385 E. Janss Road in Thousand Oaks.  For reservations call (805) 381-2744. 

  FRIDAY/SATURDAY – October 26 & 27 – 8:00 am to 3:00 pm –Council on Aging Fall Arts & Crafts Fair – at Simi Valley Senior Center, 3900 Avenida Simi in Simi Valley.  Admission is free and $5.00 for the Pancake Breakfast on Saturday.


  Betty Berry is a senior advocate for Senior Concerns.  The advocates are located at the Goebel Adult Community Center, 1385 E. Janss Road, Thousand Oaks CA 91362 or call (805) 495-6250 or e-mail (please include your telephone number.)  You are invited to submit questions on senior issues.

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