Helping older neighbors, loved ones, prepare for severe weather

Staff Report

COLUMBUS — The Ohio Department of Aging asked Ohioans to help older neighbors and loved ones prepare for severe weather.

According to a news release from the Agency, with the severe winter storm warnings across Ohio, the Department of Aging has offered tips to help prepare for the weather.

“Winter weather increases the risk for illness, injury, and isolation. Be prepared, be safe, and stay connected so we can weather the storm together,” said Ursel J. McElroy, director of the department.

The department urges older Ohioans to have an emergency plan and kit in place that will allow them to remain in one place for at least three days if leaving their homes is unsafe.

The news release said the plan should include contact information for those to call if help is needed, where one can go if remaining home is unsafe and how to get there.

“An emergency kit should include essentials such as a battery-operated radio, flashlight, and extra batteries for both of those items; a loud horn whistle or bell to signal for help; food you can open and prepare easily without electricity; one gallon of water per person, per day; extra blankets; and a first-aid kit. Older adults should include additional items in their kits, such as spare glasses and hearing aid batteries; a backup supply of medications; and non-powered options for assistive and medical equipment that may not work without electricity,” the news release stated.

The release further stated, to ensure assistive devices — canes, walkers, wheelchairs etc. — are in good repair and easy to access in emergency situations.

A plan on how to communicate to rescue workers on how to move one safely and quickly should be made, the press release said. A reliable friend, family member or neighbor should be asked to visit or call during an emergency, with a plan in place on what to do if help is needed or one is unreachable.

Older Ohioans can enroll in Staying Connected Service to receive a free daily check-in call year-round by visiting

The Aging Department encourages all Ohioans to check in on older loved ones and neighbors before, during and after severe weather.

“Checking in helps them feel connected and lets them know you care. It also gives you an opportunity to spot potential issues and help them get assistance if they need it,” the release stated.

The release also said to check their home —is the temperature comfortable? Are they heating it safely? Is there any damage to their home? Are outdoor walkways clear of snow, ice, and debris; health —Do they appear alert and aware? Have they fallen? Are they taking their medications as prescribed? Do they need medical attention; and that their daily needs are being met —Do they have safe food and water? Are they able to do what they need to do? Do they have someone to call for support and a reliable way to call for emergency help if they need it.

The news release said visits can be done by telephone, video call or in-person.

“If visiting their home, please be safe, wear a face mask, and wash your hands or use hand sanitizer often,” the news release stated.

More tips and information can be found at

Staff Report