Seniors need to be prepared for summer storm safety

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Summer storms can present problems for anyone, but for seniors and those homebound it can be very frightening and can potentially become a life-threatening situation.

Family members that are homebound, seniors and those with dementia have many needs to consider during summer storms, excessive temperatures and extreme weather.

Many times family members do not live close by and safety needs to be guaranteed from afar.

Here are some suggestions for storm safety:

  • Stock up on non-perishables such as canned goods, peanut butter and jelly, crackers, etc., that can be eaten without the use of a stove. Make certain your pet also has extra food in the home.
  • Have a few cases of bottled water to drink to stay hydrated. Another great thing to have are a few gallons of water to use for bathing if needed. Hygiene is an important part of staying healthy. Also you want to make sure your family pet has clean water, too.
  • Stocking up on wet wipes and hand sanitizer is also a good idea to stay clean and sanitary.
  • Confirm that your loved one knows what room to seek safety in should there be a hurricane or summer storm with high winds. The room should not have windows and be able to provide protection.
  • Have a battery-powered radio and flashlight with extra batteries. Ensure your loved one knows how to change the batteries. Cell phones need to also be charged at all times.
  • Have enough prescription medications to last for 14 days, with a list of the medications in a waterproof plastic bag. Take this with you in the event of evacuation.
  • Know evacuation routes, shelters and how to be transported during emergency weather conditions.
  • Communication is key during storms, so having a list of your loved one's neighbors and friends phone numbers can assist in safety and peace of mind.
  • Be sure your homeowner's policy is up to date in case of storm damage.
  • Be aware of the temperature - during summer storms, temperatures can quickly change.

Many times those with central air conditioning don't recognize how quickly the inside temperature rises during a power outage, increasing the risk of dehydration or heat stroke.

Summer heat can quickly turn a situation into trouble, especially if windows are kept closed and air conditioning isn't working.

Hiring a home care company to ensure a professional caregiver regularly visits ensures they have someone there with them in person to help with their daily needs such as bathing, dressing, hygiene, meals, housekeeping, medication reminders, transportation, safety and companionship.

The caregiver is also an excellent asset during severe weather conditions so your loved one is not alone and will be well taken care of, giving everyone involved peace of mind during an otherwise traumatic event.

Planning ahead for extreme weather conditions is the best way to stay safe.

Jeannette Wallett, BSN, RN is lead nurse for ComForCare, a home care company serving the Lowcountry. www.comforcare.com

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