It’s about that time of the year again, when snow glistens over the icy roads, power lines go down, and accidents pile up. While everyone is worrying about getting their families and homes ready for the change in weather, many forget about the elderly’s safety during this dangerous time.
As a hired home care agency, you are tasked with keeping watch over the well being of your clients. Though it may not be spelled out, it’s reasonable to assume part of this includes preparing them for the harshness of winter. This could include the big things like snow storms that prevent them from venturing out, or little things like ice and snow in their walkways that could cause falls and injury. We’ve put together 6 tips you can do today to prepare your clients before a big storm hits.
- Contact Neighbors or Family – Go out of your way to make sure someone will be there when you can’t be; you need to prevent a client from being alone for a day or two. Build relationships with neighbors and keep them informed. Get to know them well enough to understand which neighbors are trustworthy and willing to help. Always make sure there is someone close by that can check on your client if the caregiver is unable to travel due to weather.
- Call Snow Removal Companies – Become familiar with the plowing schedule, and plan accordingly. If you have a client in an area that isn’t plowed until later in the day, you’ll need to prepare accordingly. Also, if you have room in your budget try hiring a few people to shovel the driveways of your patient’s homes, making it safer for your clients and caregivers.
- Check Emergency Supplies – In case of emergency, make sure each client has at least 72 hours’ worth of supplies. That means food, water, blankets, batteries, a first-aid kit, and medicine. If you know a big storm is coming, have your caregiver pick up clients’ medications early.
- Arrange for Transportation – If your client can still operate a vehicle, make sure they have other forms of transportation in bad weather. If the caregiver can’t take them to an appointment then arrange for a relative, friend, or neighbor to help out.
- Check Home for Safety – Reduce the risk of accidents that could happen without a caregiver present. Double check safety screens on fireplaces, light bulbs, and heaters. Ensure heat sources are away from other flammable objects. Make the home as safe as possible.
- Locate Community Resources – Learn about the communities’ evacuation plans, how they receive warnings, and where shelters are located. Then encourage your clients to be aware of these procedures so they know where to go if they need help.
By informing family and clients of big storms that are coming, and what precautions you’re taking, your clients will trust and appreciate you as a home care provider. No one is as nervous about the snow as your patients, so remember to comfort them and let them know they won’t be forgotten. Taking the time to prepare a client and their home for winter not only puts them at ease, but could also save their life.