Preparing for Winter Storms: Tips for Staying Safe

Over the past couple years, the mid-Atlantic region has experienced record-breaking winter months. If you look at the remainder of the winter in 2022, the forecast is showing more snowy and cold days in our future. While staying in for a snow day can be cozy, it’s important to be prepared for the impact they may have on our homes, communities, and bodies. The National Weather Service found that there were over 275 fatalities from winter storms in the United States from 2015-2020. This year alone, we’ve had several associates without power and running water for multiple days. Fortunately, our associates can manage these difficulties as they are totally mobile, but seniors living at home might not always be able to do the same.

As we age, we begin to lose body heat faster than younger adults. Hypothermia, which can begin to occur when the body temperature gets below 95°F for seniors, can cause health problems like a heart attack, kidney problems, or liver damage. This means even being in a very cold house without power can lead to hypothermia.

The National Institute on Aging gives these tips for staying warm inside:

  • Make sure your house isn’t losing heat through windows, closing and filling any open gaps. Keep your blinds and curtains closed as well.
  • Dress warmly on colder days even in the house. Be sure to wear socks, slippers, and a hat.
  • Continue maintaining a healthy diet.
  • Ask family and friends to check on you during the cold weather. 

As you prepare for the next winter storm at home, take a look at the questions Walt, our Vice President of Maintenance, suggests asking yourself:

  • Do you have a generator? If so, is it full of fuel? If not, make sure to refill while the roads are safe.
  • Do you have salt to treat your walkways?
  • If not, do you have a shovel to clear the driveway?
  • Do you have fresh batteries for flashlights and radios?
  • Do you have enough emergency water and food?
  • Do you have an alternative heat source should you lose power?
  • Is your vehicle full of fuel should you need to evacuate to another area?

This is not an all-inclusive list to winterizing your home as every home is different but keep these questions in mind and any other yearly steps you know you need to take to have a safe, warm winter. And remember it’s always better to be over prepared.

At Commonwealth Senior Living, we’re never closed, no matter the weather. When winter storms are on the radar, we have a team of individuals across four states making sure our communities are fully prepared. This means warm, healthy, farm-to-table meals are prepared and served daily, activities go on (rain or shine!), friends are nearby, and caregivers are on site 24/7 to help with any needs. Families take comfort knowing their loved ones are enjoying a day filled with exercise, art classes, and other activities regardless of the winter conditions outside.

Families living at home typically aren’t able to have the same resources provided by our communities. The cold weather, freezing pipes, and slippery sidewalks that make the winter so difficult for all of us, have no effect on our residents due to our amazing teams’ proactivity.

To learn more about our plans for managing winter storms, contact a community nearest you.