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Winter Emergency Checklist

By January 16, 2015Aging in Place

In a previous post, we discussed the ways older adults can help themselves in the winter months in order to remain safe during difficult conditions. This week, we’d like to offer some advice for you, the caregiver, to ensure the safety of your senior loved one during the colder months. There are plenty of preemptive actions you can take to assure your senior is safe and comfortable within their own home.

Stock Up
These days, everybody knows when a winter storm is about to hit their area. If you’re aware of an oncoming storm, stock up before the storm hits. It’s much easier to get supplies before the roads become dangerous. It’ll also provide you with some peace of mind knowing that if something such as a power outage occurs, there are plenty of supplies to provide the senior with a safe environment. So what are some supplies you should stock up on? They include:

  • A flashlight with multiple battery packs
  • Bottles of water
  • Blankets
  • Non-perishable foods
  • 7 day supply of their medication

Having all of these items will ensure their safety and provide you with the comfort of knowing they are safe.

Eliminate Fire Hazards
It might seem like a good idea to run the oven when the central heating of the house isn’t cutting it. However, this is a big risk for a fire in the house and it’s never a good idea to do such a thing. Also, the overuse of space heaters and heated blankets runs the risk of creating an electrical fire. Your best bet is to supply your senior with an ample amount of blankets. If one blanket isn’t keeping them warm, add another and another until they’re at a comfortable temperature. You’ll also want to keep smoke detectors and carbon monoxide monitors up to speed. Make sure you replace the batteries in each device and ensure they’re working properly.

Watch Their Nutrition
A balanced diet of rich vitamin fruits and vegetables mixed with a good amount of protein will keep your senior loved one healthy. In a previous post (insert nutrition blog) we listed a number of warning signs if an older adult is not receiving the proper nutrition. If you notice any of these signs, alter their diet. Provide them with the right amount of essential nutrients or contact their primary physician. He or she will be able to detect the problem and know how to solve it.

Keep in Contact
In case of a winter weather emergency, it’s best to stay in constant contact with your senior. This can be achieved by giving them a senior friendly cellphone. If this is the route you take there are certain factors that should be accommodated for before you give it to them.

  • Be sure they know how to use it
  • Program emergency contacts for them
  • Provide them a phone with a long lasting battery
  • Provide them a phone with big buttons that is easily viewable

Guaranteeing that a senior knows how to use their cellphone will provide a lot of comfort to you.

There are a number of physical health risks that come along with the winter weather. However, the phone can also be used to aid them in mental health risks as well. Winter can be isolating for older adults, especially those with mobility issues, so don’t just view the cellphone as an emergency only phone. It can also provide them with a window of opportunity to talk about their day and feel connected with their community.

Image Credit – http://maryloudriedger2.files.wordpress.com/2014/01/img_7391.jpg

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