Mather LifeWays Disaster Preparedness Program Reaches 50 States

More than 12,000 People Nationwide Receive PREPARE  Disaster Preparedness Training Focusing on Needs of Older Adults

Evanston, Ill. (April 11, 2008) – Mather LifeWays, a not-for-profit organization dedicated to creating Ways to Age Well, announced today that PREPARE, the organization’s award-winning disaster and emergency preparedness program, has reached its goal of training participants in all 50 states.  Since its inception in 2006, more than 1,000 organizations have participated in PREPARE train-the-trainer workshops, reaching more than 12,000 managers and staff in senior living and long-term care communities.

Developed by Mather LifeWays Institute on Aging, PREPARE was designed in response to a notable lack of information on how vulnerable populations, and the health care providers that serve them, can be better equipped to deal with natural and manmade disasters.   PREPARE training has been funded by a federal grant from the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

“Mather LifeWays Institute on Aging is proud to have brought disaster preparedness training to people who oversee the care of older adults on a national basis,” said Dr. Linda Hollinger-Smith, vice president of Mather LifeWays Institute on Aging.  “We know that there are many more caregivers who would like to receive PREPARE training so the program will continue strongly throughout 2008.”

Mather LifeWays’ Institute on Aging created the PREPARE program to address the specific needs of the senior living industry.  The two-day workshop is unique in that it focuses on staff serving long-term care communities, skilled care nursing centers, retirement communities, assisted living centers and home health care agencies.   

A comprehensive training program, PREPARE offers staff the opportunity to acquire skills and gain knowledge in:

  • Developing an effective disaster plan and understanding it
  • Understanding the effects of manmade and natural disasters on older adults
  • Demonstrating leadership skills during and after emergencies
  • Activating community partnerships and backup strategies in the aftermath of a disaster
  • Maintaining order by practicing the plan through disaster exercises and drills
  • Involving families in disaster planning so they understand what they should be doing as well.

A national survey by the Mather LifeWays Institute on Aging found that 9 out of 10 long-term care communities are ill-prepared to deal with public health emergencies.  The confusion seen in the months after 2005’s Hurricane Katrina magnifies the need to ensure the safety of older adults in long-term care.  Recent research by the United States Department of Homeland Security shows that among 75 major American cities, only six are ready for manmade or natural disasters. 


Upcoming PREPARE training events will be held in the following locations:


April 15-16, Gaylord, MI  Co-sponsored by the Michigan Department of Community Health 

April 29-30, Atlanta, GA  Co-sponsored by the Georgia Association of Homes and Services for the Aging 

May 6-7, Hinsdale, IL Co-sponsored by Life Services Network of Illinois

May 13-14, Reno, NV  Co-sponsored by the Nevada Health Care Association 

June 17-18, Lansing, MI  Co-sponsored by the Michigan Department of Community Health 

August 20-21, Hockessin, DE Co-sponsored by the Delaware Health Care Facilities Association 


Other 2008 PREPARE training opportunities include the following seminars and pre-conference sessions:


Washington Health Care Association Annual Convention and Exhibition, Spokane, WA, May 20-21, 2008

AAHSA Annual Meeting and Exposition, Philadelphia, PA, October 12-15, 2008


To register for an upcoming PREPARE workshop, call (847) 492-6803, toll-free (888) 722-6468, or e-mail More information is available at


About Mather LifeWays

Based in Evanston, Illinois, Mather LifeWays enhances the lives of older adults by creating Ways to Age Well.SM Founded in 1941 by entrepreneur and humanitarian Alonzo Mather, Mather LifeWays is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to providing a continuum of living and care; making neighborhoods better places for older adults to live, work, learn, contribute and play; and identifying, implementing and sharing best practices for wellness, workforce issues, memory care and empowering caregivers. To learn more about our senior living residences, Community Initiatives, Institute on Aging and how you can make a charitable contribution to advance our mission, please call (847) 492.7500 or find your Way to


PREPARE is a comprehensive educational program created by Mather LifeWays designed to prepare senior living and long-term care (LTC) health providers with the core competencies needed to respond to disasters and other public health emergencies.  The program is made possible through funding from the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.  PREPARE was awarded the 2007 Healthcare and Aging Award from the American Society on Aging.


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