The weather is warming and the seasons are changing. In Texas that means we’re in the midst of tornado season and Houston’s hurricane season is just around the corner. Seniors can be especially vulnerable if mobility issues or other impairments prohibit them from knowing about potential storms. Family caregivers can plan ahead by preparing for potential storms and power outages while remembering the special needs of aging parents.
Preparing seniors for storm season
If you are a caregiver or adult child of seniors, it’s especially important to plan ahead in the event of severe weather.
1. Can your loved one evacuate safely? Will they need your help or the help of first resp0nders?
2. Does your senior require oxygen or other durable medical equipment? Has the local utility company been notified of their specific needs?
3. Does a vision or hearing impairment prohibit your loved one from being aware of severe weather alerts? Do you have an alternate method of communicating vital information to them such as a trusted neighbor or nearby relative?
4. Does your senior loved one have ready access to a fresh water supply and food during a short-term power outage?
5. Are all medications readily available?
6. Plan for an evacuation early so that your senior is not left in a home that may not have basic utilities restored for weeks.
In addition to preparing your loved one for severe weather, a basic plan for all family members can help you be prepared and in a better position to respond to the needs of your aging parent or other loved ones.
Prepare a Basic Storm Kit
1. Gather at least a three-day supply of food, water and medications for each family member and pet. Don’t forget to include a manual can opener.
2. Keep a battery-powered or hand-crank NOAA weather radio handing.
3. Store a flashlight and spare batteries in a convenient location.
4. Prepare a first aid kit and include a whistle for alerting rescue teams.
5. Include alcohol wipes and plastic bags for personal sanitation.
7. Develop an evacuation plan and designate a central meeting place with other family members. Include maps and driving directions as your primary routes may be inaccessible.
8. Include a cell phone with an inverter or solar charger.
If you live in an area that is prone to long-term power outages following storms or flooding, consider adding the following to your storm kits:
1. Cash and important family documents
2. First aid book
3. Sleeping bags and bedding
4. A change of clothing and sturdy shoes
5. Chlorine bleach
6. Fire extinguisher
7. Waterproof matches
8. Personal hygiene supplies and an extended supply of medications. Don’t forget to include extra medications, denture supplies, spare contact lenses and solutions or a spare set of eye glasses.
9. Paper plates, cups and plastic ware
10. Paper and pencil