No matter where you live, you’re going to get some nasty weather from time-to-time. Inclement weather can take many forms, including tornadoes, hurricanes, thunderstorms, high winds and heavy snowfalls. Harsh weather can be especially hard on those aged 65-and-over who also live alone. If you’re currently caring for an aging in place elderly loved one, the topic of keeping seniors safe during inclement weather is certainly on your mind. Fortunately, there are several reliable ways to keep seniors safer when storms strike, starting with these.
Preparing for Power Outages
Nasty storms can cause widespread power outages. As a result, make sure your senior is prepared by focusing on these areas:
If your loved one lives in an area prone to snowstorms and bitter cold, make sure they have plenty of non-perishable foods on hand, along with warm blankets and heavy clothing. During an actual power outage, keep them moving around constantly to stay warm.
Pack an emergency kit for them using a waterproof bag on wheels that contains a list of phone numbers for their utility providers, pharmacy, doctor, and local police and fire departments. Also include copies of their important personal documents, enough non-perishable food and water for 3 days, and extra prescription medications. Add a flashlight and batteries, and any of their other essential medical supplies they might need during a prolonged emergency.
If your loved one relies on in-home medical equipment or a medical device, notify the electric company beforehand so they can prioritize restoring power to your loved one’s home as soon as possible. Make sure there’s a back-up power source available too.
Carbon Monoxide (CO)
If your senior tries to use a gas, wood or kerosene fireplace or stove in their home during a power outage, they could be placed at risk for inhaling harmful carbon monoxide fumes that are virtually undetectable. As a result, make sure that any such device is well-vented and in good working condition before inclement weather sets in. And, install several battery-operated CO detectors around the home.
Driving in Bad Weather
If your senior parent still drives, they may be forced to do so during inclement weather. Here are some driving tips for keeping your loved one safer:
Prepare Their Car
Make sure their car is sound mechanically, that they have good tires for all road conditions and new wiper blades. In case they get stranded, stock the vehicle with a roadside emergency kit that contains:
- Jumper cables
- First aid kit
- Extra clothes
- Windshield scraper and brush
- Bag of sand or kitty litter
- Flashlight and shovel
- Bottled water and non-perishable foods
Your loved one should have a fully functional cell phone with them that shows you as an “ICE” contact in their contact list, and a plug-in car phone charger for added security.
Older people are sometimes forgetful, so remind your senior to avoid driving on wet or icy roadways, bridges and overpasses. If they do drive in bad weather, help them choose the safest route. And, gently remind them to never pass through standing or moving water if they aren’t 100% sure what lies beneath.
Coordinate Periodic Wellness Checks
Plan with your siblings and other family members for someone to follow up with your elderly loved one every few hours when they’re homebound due to a storm. Take turns checking in with your loved one via:
- Facetime or Skype
- Phone calls
- Stopping by the home
- Asking the local police to do wellness checks, if they have time
If your senior is receiving some professional in-home care from a licensed agency, their caregivers and supervisors follow set wellness check protocols during emergencies.
We Keep At-Home Seniors Safer During Bad Weather
Keeping an aging in place senior safe during inclement weather can be challenging, especially when you live far away. When you need a hand, contact Caring At Home. As a fully licensed and insured home care agency, we have strict protocols in place for caring for at-home seniors even during power outages and other emergencies. Continuously ensuring the health and wellbeing of your loved one, by serving as an extended family in their home, is what we’re all about at Caring At Home!
When called upon, our highly trained and carefully screened caregivers can provide services including periodic wellness checks, light housekeeping, personal hygiene, meals, medication reminders, transportation and companionship. To learn more about Caring At Home, or to schedule an in-home assessment for your senior, please online now!