With winter just around the corner, it's time to start preparing your aging parents for inclement weather, particularly if they live in another city or state. When a winter storm hits, your parents may not have easy access to meals or other essentials. Here are some tips for long-distance caregivers:
Stock Up with Shelf-Stable Meals
Every state in the nation (including Florida and Hawaii) experiences potentially dangerous winter weather. Winter storms frequently catch people unprepared. Be sure your parents have the essentials on hand so they can continue aging at home. Stock up on canned items (or any foods with long shelf lives that can be kept in the pantry) and paper goods (no one wants to run out of toilet paper in a blizzard!) If you
don’t live close enough to your parents to help them stock up, you can order these necessities
from companies like Amazon and have them delivered directly to them.
You may also want to sign up for a meal delivery program that assists seniors. These programs will deliver meals to your family members, even in bad weather. Select a program that provides shelf-stable meals as an option, in the event of severe weather, when roads are closed and
delivery trucks can’t get through. (For more tips in selecting a home-delivered meals company, download this ebook.)
Other Emergency Supplies
Make sure your parents have at least a 7-day supply of their medications. Keep a list of their medications along with dose, frequency, and contact information for the prescribing doctor, as well as write the name and phone number for their pharmacy. It is also a good idea to keep back-ups of wheel chair batteries, oxygen, and other medical devices on hand. Include the information for those items on the back of the medications list.
Depending on the area your parents live, some other items that might be helpful are a flashlight and a battery-operated radio with extra batteries for both!
If your parents have pets, suggest that they stock up on food and medicine for their animals as well. Enlist the help of neighbors or a service that will take dogs out for a walk during severe weather, to make sure your parents do not slip or fall. Some cities have volunteer organizations that help seniors take care of their animals.
Involve Neighbors and Friends
Get the contact information for your parents’ neighbors and friends. During bad weather, it may be helpful for someone to check on your parents. You may also want to give them a key to your parents’ home. Ask them to make sure the heat is on and working, and they can also make sure there aren’t any fire hazards like a space heater near curtains or a fireplace that is improperly lit.
Caregiving from a distance is not any easy task. Find great information on strategies to build a supportive network in this article.