COLUMBUS — Winter Storm Harper is bringing snow, ice, high winds and bitter cold temperatures to most of Ohio this weekend. Weather-related road conditions, utility outages and more are dangers for all Ohioans, but can be especially hazardous for older adults. The Ohio Department of Aging asks all Ohioans check on older loved ones and neighbors before, during and after the storm. Here are some things to ask about when you call or visit:
– Do they need medical attention? Have they fallen? Are they staying warm enough? Are they taking their medications as prescribed?
– Do they have safe food and water? Are they eating and drinking regularly?
– Is the temperature in their home comfortable? Do they have safe means to heat the home if temperatures continue to fall?
– Whom will they call if they need help? Do they have access to a phone that will work without power or landline service?
Ohioans who live in nursing homes also can be at increased risk from severe winter weather. The Office of the State Long-Term Care Ombudsman advises to call love ones’ nursing homes to check conditions there and ask how the facility is staffed.
If you or an older loved one become ill or injured during the storm, or if it becomes unsafe to stay in your home for any reason, call 9-1-1 for emergency assistance.
Check local media or call local law enforcement to learn about the availability of warming centers or emergency shelters. Your area agency on aging can help identify emergency resources and services in your community. Visit the Ohio Department of Aging’s website www.aging.ohio.gov for contacts or call 866-243-5678 to be connected to the agency serving your community.
The Department of Aging’s “Safe at Home” web page www.aging.ohio.gov/safeathome includes resources for older Ohioans to be prepared for emergencies.