Winter is coming, are you ready? |

Winter is coming, are you ready?

Elizabeth Caldwell
Special to the Tribune

I think we would all agree that last winter was long and full of bad weather. For some of us, bad weather is just irritating and extra work shoveling snow and pruning trees. For others, it can be life threatening.

In working with the older adult population as a care manager assistant for Elder Options, I noticed that seniors I came in contact with for home visits were not prepared for severe winter conditions. I have many clients who live alone most of the time in rural areas without power, who were not able to cook on their electric stove and were without hot meals for days. Others who were also on continuous oxygen were without power and did not plan with enough back up supply of oxygen. Not being prepared for severe weather, especially as we age, can be a life or death situation.

In addition to not having the right supplies to save your life, it’s also important to be able to reach out to people who can help. Typically, individuals who are snowed in cannot be reached by home phones. Most individuals have a portable cordless phone. Unfortunately during a power outage, portable cordless telephones do not work. However, wall corded phones will still work- even if the power is out.

Given that none of us are immune to falling into “crisis-mode” during a power outage, I’m sharing this list early this year, in the hopes that we can all be prepared for our upcoming winter season. This list has since been adopted by the National Association of Professional Geriatric Care Managers and is featured in their standard forms and distributed on a national level.

We recommend taking your inventory now, before winter. Below you’ll find a checklist. Do you have following items in your house and do you know where they are?

• Bottled water

• Extra blankets

• Candles/flashlights

• Wood stove

• Adequate wood supply

• Gas stove

• Portable oxygen tanks and extra tanks, if needed

• Wall phone

• Gas/propane Heat

• Adequate food supply

• New batteries for radio and flashlights (make sure you have the right size)

• Current snow removal service phone numbers

• Back up generator to keep refrigerator food from spoiling

Also think about:

• When was the last time the chimney was inspected and cleaned? If it’s been more a year, schedule an appointment today.

• An in-town support system. Who’s on the list you could call if you need help?

• Are there trees near power lines or house? Have them trimmed in advance.

Now you can really relax for the holidays, you’re prepared.

Yo download and print out copies of this checklist, visit

– Elizabeth Caldwell is a geriatric care manager assistant with Elder Options.

Support Local Journalism

Your support means a better informed community. Donate today.


See more