Older citizens can be more susceptible to inclement weather

Staff Report

The Ohio Department of Aging asks all Ohioans to check on older loved ones and neighbors during and after the severe winter storm hitting the state this weekend.

Physical changes, isolation and other factors can make older adults more susceptible to weather’s wrath, said ODA officials.

Winter Storm Harper brought 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, officials said.

Here are some things ODA suggests asking when people call or visit older adults.

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 loved ones’ nursing homes to check conditions there and ask how the facility is staffed.

Here is more advice from ODA:

“If you or an older loved one becomes ill or injured during the storm, or if it becomes unsafe to stay in your home for any reason, call 911 for emergency assistance. Check local media or call local law enforcement to learn about the availability of warming centers or emergency shelters.”

The area agency on aging can help identify emergency resources and services in the 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.