Key Takeaways

  • Natural disasters can strike anywhere and at any time.

  • These resources can help immediately following a disaster to point older adults and caregivers toward help.

With any natural disaster, finding stability and starting the rebuilding process will take months, or even years. For seniors displaced and affected by a disaster, finding people who can help with their particular needs – understanding how to use Medicare when displaced, applying for benefits programs, or even how to apply for long-term nutrition support – can make the process slightly less stressful.

Here are a few organizations and resources that have extensive experience working with seniors:

BenefitsCheckUp® and Benefits Enrollment Centers

There are many benefit programs that expand or become available to people affected by declared natural disasters. You can find out about those programs online at NCOA's BenefitsCheckUp®. These programs can help with shelter, nutrition, tax relief, and energy assistance, among others.

In addition, NCOA has a network of Benefits Enrollment Centers in communities across the country, which can answer question and assist with benefits enrollment in person.

Eldercare Locator

This Eldercare Locator connects you to services for older adults and their families. Use this tool to find resources in the community that provide information and assistance on topics from legal services to aging services. Out-of-town loved ones can use this resource to help connect displaced family members with local assistance.

The Eldercare Locator is available online as well as by calling toll-free 1-800-677-1116 Monday through Friday, 9 am to 8 pm ET.

LGBT Seniors

The nonprofit elder LGBT organization SAGE has affiliates and partners available to help locate lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender supportive services. 

Medicare Questions

If you live in an area that's been declared an emergency or disaster, the usual rules for your medical care may change for a short time. Your State Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP) can answer your questions about Medicare and help determine how to get replacement documents you may need. You can find their number online by entering your zip code or call toll-free 1-877-839-2675.

Additionally, you can find answers to some of the most-asked questions following a disaster on