Inclement weather and winter storms can be especially hard on those aged 65-and-over who also live alone. If you’re currently experiencing winter weather, be sure to pay attention to the following tips and ways of preparation to ensure you are safe.
Start by identifying potential hazards such as dead tree limbs, outside plumbing that’s missing insulation, and debris in the gutters. Continue to inspect the outside furnace vents, ensuring that they are clear. It’s also good practice to test the carbon monoxide alarms in the home. If they use a space heater, declutter the areas around it, and check that it has a usable automatic shut-off.
If possible, contact someone ahead of time to clear the snow out of the driveway and sidewalk. One of the neighbors may be willing to check in on your relative or loved one, and let you know they’re still doing okay. A private duty service such as The Helper Bees may also be of use in these situations.
Having a backup generator is always a good idea—especially if the use of an oxygen concentrator or a CPAP machine is required. It also a good idea to have the following on hand:
If you attempt to use a gas or wood burning fireplace or stove, it is really important to be aware of carbon monoxide fumes. They can be virtually undetectable and lethal—having battery-operated CO detectors around the home is a great idea. Additionally, make sure that any gas or kerosine devices being used are well-vented and in good working condition before inclement weather sets in.
For anyone, winter storms can be disruptive and dangerous—but especially for those older adults who require more assistance and care. Remember to check in on your loved ones and do want you can to prepare for safety during inclement weather.