Preparedness and survival for the disabled and elderly is a topic we don’t hear much about. But it’s definitely important.
I know a little about it because I’m blind myself, though I’ve got some usable vision. Some would call me visually impaired, but I’m more blind than not, so I’m comfortable with using the term “blind” to describe myself.
I rarely mention it on this site because, whether you’re disabled or not, there are similar steps we all need to take for preparedness. For example, we should all have extra emergency supplies, storage food and clean water to drink.
But there are some extra considerations to plan for when you have a physical disability.
Therefore, my DestinySurvival Radio program for March 31, 2011, was about preparedness for those with disabilities. My guest was Judy Redlich, manager of the St. Louis office of Joni and Friends, a Christian ministry for the disabled.
Judy is blind herself and has quite a number of accomplishments to her credit, including over 30 years of media experience. Interestingly enough, most of that is in television.
Judy hosts weekly Internet radio programs. She and her husband are also quite involved with their church.
At Joni and Friends, Judy helps churches build ministries for the disabled because only 10% of people with disabilities attend a local church.
Joni and Friends has an outreach called Wheels for the World. They collect wheelchairs, walkers, canes and crutches which are distributed to several places around the world. Judy has traveled to Mexico several times as part of this outreach.
Judy has also hosted and co-produced a a half hour TV documentary called “Focus” which profiles four people with disabilities. Her goal is to make audiences aware of the capabilities and hopes and dreams of the disabled. Contact Judy at http://www.judyredlich.com for more info or to help get the word out about this documentary.
During our discussion, Judy and I briefly touched on resources in accessible format, such as audio or Braille. There’s not a great deal that’s widely available. I’ve decided to create a page on Preparedness Resources for Those with Disabilities, where I’ll put info about resources I learn about.
What if a blind or disabled person has need of a service dog? At the time of our visit, Judy had a black lab guide dog, so she knows what supplies to take when traveling or prepping for emergency situations. She discussed some do’s and don’ts for the rest of us to keep in mind when we’re near a working dog in harness.
A blind person who uses a cane and not adog should have a spare cane handy, such as one that telescopes or collapses. It’s a temporary fix if the primary cane gets broken or lost.
Judy shared practical tips for those who use wheelchairs. For example, a manual wheelchair would be a good backup to have at work.
Many of us take medications regularly these days, whether disabled, elderly or not. It makes sense to plan ahead and try to stock up on extra meds whenever possible. Be sure to have a list of medications you take. It should also list any allergies you have.
For those with other disabilities, such as autism or learning disabilities, Judy recommends having a tip sheet handy with useful info for the emergency medical team or others who will help in an emergency.
In a disaster, it’s important to think before you act. Take action that’s assertive, effective and sensitive to those around you.
One subject I regret not touching on with Judy is the necessity for having a support network. We need one another. That’s especially true if one of us is disabled, elderly or in some way ill.
The link no longer works for my visit with Judy Redlich on DestinySurvival Radio for March 31, 2011. If you’d like to hear the audio file, get in touch so we can make the necessary arrangements.