Ohio Department of Aging urges older Ohioans and caregivers to be prepared for severe winter weather
Read below for an important message from the Ohio Department of Aging urging caregivers to be prepared for severe winter weather.
COLUMBUS, Ohio — Below-freezing temperatures and winter weather are in the forecast across Ohio for much of the next week, and the Ohio Department of Aging (ODA) is encouraging older Ohioans and caregivers to be prepared.
“Winter weather events can be unpredictable, which makes it important for older adults and their loved ones to be proactive instead of reactive. Having a well-thought-out plan becomes paramount,” said ODA Director Ursel J. McElroy. “I encourage older Ohioans and their caregivers to take the necessary steps to ensure safety, warmth, and access to essential supplies. Also, let’s foster a community spirit where neighbors look out for one another, especially our older friends who may require additional support.”
At various locations across the state, Ohioans might experience temperatures in the single digits or potentially below zero, especially with a frigid wind chill factored in. There is also snow and ice forecast across multiple parts of the state at points throughout the week.
Older Ohioans are encouraged to have an emergency plan and kit that will allow them to remain in place for at least three days if they are unable to safely leave their homes. A comprehensive plan and kit should include:
- A battery-operated radio, flashlight, and extra batteries for both of those items.
- Food that can be opened and prepared easily without electricity.
- One gallon of water per person, per day.
- A first-aid kit and backup supply of medications.
- Spare glasses, extra hearing aid batteries, and non-powered alternatives to assistive and medical equipment that may not work without electricity.
- A loud horn, whistle, or bell that can help first responders locate an individual in an emergency.
- The names and phone numbers of people to call for help if needed.
- A plan for where to go if it is unsafe to remain at home, and a plan for how to get there.
Older Ohioans are also encouraged to ask a reliable family member, friend, or neighbor to visit or call in an emergency and agree on a plan for what they should do if they are unable to reach you.
Caregivers should plan for the possibility that they will not be able to physically be with their loved ones – or that their loved ones may need to leave their home for safety – by doing the following:
- Know the locations of nearby emergency shelters and have a plan for getting your loved one there, especially if you don’t feel safe driving.
- Identify trusted neighbors or nearby individuals who can act as backup caregivers in a crisis.
- Let your backup caregiver know about your loved one’s condition and how to communicate with them effectively.
- Store a recent photo of your loved one and copies of their medical documents on your phone to share with first responders, if needed.
Check Your Neighbor
Checking in on older friends, relatives, and neighbors during severe weather helps them feel connected and gives you an opportunity to spot potential issues and help them get assistance if they need it.
Check their home: Is the temperature comfortable? Are they heating it safely? Is there any damage to their home? Are outdoor walkways clear of snow, ice, and debris?
- Check their health: Do they appear alert and aware? Have they fallen? Are they taking their medications as prescribed? Do they need medical attention?
- Check that their daily needs are being met: Do they have safe food and water? Are they able to do what they need to do? Do they have someone to call for support and a reliable way to call for emergency help if they need it?
You can check in on an older loved one or neighbor by telephone, text message, email, video call, or in-person if it is safe to travel.
More Tips and Resources
Emergency Preparedness: www.aging.ohio.gov/beprepared
Winter Safety: www.aging.ohio.gov/wintersafety
Check Your Neighbor: www.aging.ohio.gov/checkyourneighbor
Ohio Department of Public Safety – Twitter/X: https://twitter.com/OHPublicSafety
Ohio Emergency Management Agency – Twitter/X: https://twitter.com/Ohio_EMA
About ODA – The Ohio Department of Aging serves and advocates for the needs of Ohioans age 60 and older, as well as their families, caregivers and communities. Programs include home and community based long-term supports and services, as well as initiatives to promote health and wellness throughout the lifespan. Visit www.aging.ohio.gov.