If you have an elderly relative living alone, the winter and the storms that come with it can have a major impact on their safety and well-being. To help ease that stress, these four tips can help you and the senior in your life prepare for a potential winter storm.

Make sure their supplies are well-stocked.

This includes both food as well as any prescriptions they may need. Check on their medication supply before the storm is anticipated to hit, and refill anything that appears low. Bottled water and non-perishable food are good items to have on-hand, as well as non-edible items such as toilet paper and pet food. We also recommend checking that their vehicle has enough gas it, and that the tires are adequately inflated.

Inspect the house.

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.

Arrange for care.

Contact someone ahead of time to clear the snow out of their driveway and sidewalk. One of the neighbors may be willing to check in on your relative, and let you know they’re still doing okay. A private duty service such as Johns Hopkins Home Support may also be of use in these situations.

Have a back-up plan in case the power goes out.

If your relative uses an oxygen concentrator or a CPAP machine, it’s always a good idea to have a generator at their home to help the machines to continue on in the event of a power outage. Make sure your loved one has working flashlights and plenty of batteries. You can also purchase battery-powered plug-in lights, to help prevent them from stumbling in any darkness. Finally, consider getting them a portable cell phone charger, so communication can continue even if their cell phone’s battery has run low.

Winter storms can be disruptive to everyone’s life, but in the case of senior citizens, they may turn dangerous. By following these simple steps, you can help ensure your loved ones stay safe, no matter what Mother Nature sends their way. Johns Hopkins Pharmaquip can also help you make sure your loved ones are prepared with the medical equipment they need, including CPAP supplies, oxygen equipment and an emergency preparedness plan.

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