As winter turns to spring, we start worrying less about ice and snow and more about severe weather.
“Whether it’s damaging thunderstorms, flash flooding, or tornadoes, it’s important to prepare for whatever Mother Nature throws at us – especially if you have aging loved ones,” said Sierra Goetz, co-founder and operations manager at the HomeCare Advocacy Network (HCAN). “Many seniors don’t move as quickly as they used to, because of physical limitations or memory issues. That’s why it’s important for families to take a few extra steps to help their aging loved ones prepare for severe weather – especially if they live alone,”
To help aging loved ones weather the storms, Goetz says families should:
- Make sure they have a cell phone, battery-powered radio, working flashlights (include extra batteries) and a first aid kit.
- Stock the cupboards with a few extra bottles of water, nonperishable foods and protein bars.
- Post a list of emergency contacts where it can easily be seen, on the fridge, for example. Include at least one out-of-state contact who can assist if nearby friends or relatives are unable to help. Be sure to add important numbers to cell phones, too.
- Set up weather alerts on their phones, so they’ll be notified about severe weather watches and warnings.
- If they take daily medications, make sure they always have a three day supply on hand.
- Put together an emergency check list of everything they’ll need if they have to evacuate – medications, eye glasses, hearing aids, special foods, photo identification, cash, etc.
- Designate a meeting spot – a church, school or other location that can be accessed via multiple routes in case roads are blocked.
- Ask for help. If distance separates you from your aging loved ones, enlist the help of someone in the area to help your aging loved one prepare for severe weather and provide assistance if they have to leave their home.
“At HCAN, we understand that time or distance may limit your ability to be with aging loved ones – that’s where we come in,” Goetz said. “Our caregivers are trained to help seniors age safely in place – including preparing them for severe weather. We’ll make sure they have everything they need and know what to do when bad weather is in the forecast.”