All too early in the year Americans are being reminded of the dangers storms can bring. Too often thunderstorms leave property damage, power outages and – yes – injuries and even death in their wake.
Caregivers, especially those who live long distances away from their senior loved ones, become devastated with a feeling of helplessness upon hearing the news of storms. Until that “all clear” arrives, there is fear of the unknown and wishing we could be there to help them through, especially elderly loved ones whose ability to deal with the storm is lessened.
We know that some advance planning and preparation can be a tremendous help in weathering the storms that inevitably come our way. Knowing our senior loved ones have a plan for safely riding out the storm and for dealing with power outages once the storm passes can be invaluable – both for them and us.
Storm Preparation & Recovery Tips: Food & Water
Part of preparing for the storm is building our readiness for the aftermath of a storm, including power outages that may impact our homes and community. Here are some basic preparations, with a focus on our food and water needs.
- Be sure to have a battery-powered or hand-cranked radio available to receive official instructions and updates from local authorities if the power goes out. If it’s battery-powered, stock extra fresh batteries each year. (Okay, this isn’t related to food and water but worth an annual reminder.)
- Stock a 3 to 5 day supply of clean water for drinking and sanitation: 3 to 5 gallons per person and pet. Make sure that you have a larger supply if it’s during a period of hot weather.
- Make sure that you have bottled water, soap and/or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer for proper sanitation and hygiene.
- If the power goes out, turn off major appliances to reduce power surge when electricity is restored.
- Keep an appliance thermometer in the refrigerator and freezer to help determine the safety of food after a power outage.
- Throw away food that may have come in contact with flood or storm water.
- Throw away perishable foods, including meat, poultry, fish, eggs and leftovers, if they have been above 40 degrees Fahrenheit (F) for 2 hours or more.
- If you are an evacuee or in an emergency, identify yourself as a person with specific medical needs, such as diabetes, if applicable so you can obtain appropriate care.
- Be sure to prevent dehydration by drinking enough fluids and keeping something containing sugar with you at all times in case you develop low blood glucose.
These are certainly not all the things that may be needed to help your senior loved ones prepare to make it safely through storms and their aftermath, but should give your planning a good start. You and they will know best about special needs that need to be addressed and plans that need to be made.
You can see some of our tips and more in this video, which is closed captioned, from the FDA.
Being prepared and knowledgeable yourself will make it easier for you and your senior loved ones to weather the storm and provide peace of mind.
Our wishes are with them and you through the storm season!