Senior Safety: Home-bound During a Snowstorm or Other Emergency

Call (646) 820-9202

by: Tehila Mörtl

As anyone who has been homebound due to a storm or natural disaster knows, such events come without enough warning for last minute preparations.  One of the goals of Advise & Protect Senior Care Consultants is to promote safety and security in the lives of all elders.  In furthering this effort, we would like to offer the following tips on how you too can help your senior prepare before a winter storm, natural disaster or some other type of emergency takes place. 

Emergency Conditions Home Tips

·        To ensure proper hydration for elders and other members of your household, keep one gallon per person a day for at least seven days.

·        Nutritional needs can be difficult for seniors to meet with loss of power at home particularly if the entire surrounding is affected.  So, keep a one week supply of non-perishable, ready to eat food items on hand, that will be easy for a senior to prepare, along with a manual can opener in case they are unexpectedly stuck at home.  Some ideas include:

              - nutritional supplement shakes

     - single-serve canned meats (i.e. tuna, beef spread)

     - packaged dried soup – the kind that only needs hot water

     -nut butters - Those allergic to peanuts might want to try almond butter, etc.

     -crackers and pretzels

     - trail Mix

     - nuts and dried fruit

     - powdered milk and coffee creamer

  - beverage mixes and powders (i.e. cocoa, fruit flavored, teas, coffee)

    - packets of mustard, mayonnaise, ketchup, jelly, etc.

·        Medical supplies (i.e. glasses, contact lenses and cleaning solution, hearing aids with extra batteries, syringes, cane, walker, incontinence supplies)

·        Always keep cell phones charged. 

·        Have extra water on hand for bathing and flushing toilets.

·        Keep an ample supply of non-clumping kitty litter, sand and/or ice-melt salt on hand to keep walkways, stairs, etc. safe.

·        Take frequent breaks when snow shoveling to avoid heart attack or injury.

·        Maintain provisions for alternate heating equipment such as logs for fireplaces and supplies for coal burning stoves.

·        Consider investing in a generator to help power refrigerator, space heater, etc. in the event of power loss.  Please remember to keep it protected from the elements!

·        Replace carbon monoxide detector and smoke alarm batteries regularly.

·        Create an emergency preparedness kit to keep on hand which includes:

  - battery powered or hand crank radio, NOAA Weather Radio with tone alert

     - flashlights

     - two-way radios

     - extra batteries

     - lighter and matches

    - first aid kit (i.e. alcohol wipes, bandages, triple antibiotic cream, lip balm, eye drops)

     - first aid book for seniors

     - multi-tool such as a Leatherman

     - duct tape and plastic sheeting or tarp and cording or rope

 - corded (non-wireless) home phone that does not require electricity

  - cell phone battery back-up and/or car charger in case power goes out

   - instructions and tools (i.e. wrench, pliers) to turn electricity, gas, water, etc. on and off.

     - fire extinguisher

     - spare pair of reading glasses or magnifying glass

     - emergency cash, in small bills, and/or traveler’s checks

     - pencil and paper

     - emergency whistle

     - sunglasses for sun and snow

     - spare home and automobile keys

     - utility company contact information (i.e. gas leak, down power lines, flood)

     - family emergency contact information

  - water purification pitcher with extra filters and usage instructions for your elder camp stove and fuel – outdoor use only

     - maps/directions for pre-determined evacuation routes

  - list of and directions to pre-designated emergency senior shelters

  - emergency reference material such as can be found at

     - disposable utensils, plates, cups, etc.

  - disinfecting supplies (i.e. plain chlorine bleach without additives, sanitizing spray)

    - medicine dropper

    - dust masks or cotton t-shirts to cover nose and mouth in case of air contamination

Documents and Senior Information to keep in a waterproof file/container

·        Copy of Driver’s License

·        Passport

·        Copy of insurance cards or documentation (i.e. medical, prescription, home, auto)

·        Copy of automobile club card (i.e. AAA)

·        Medication and medical issues list along with contact information for physician

·        List of emergency contacts

·        Important documents (i.e. birth certificate, medical directive, health care proxy, will)

·        Banking and charge card information

·        Copy of home deed or lease

·        Senior help and assistance contact list 

Emergency Kit for Pets

·        Dry food, single serve canned food

·        Lidded water and food containers

·        Blanket

·        Extra leash, collar and harness

·        Identification and vaccine records

·        Chews and a toy

·        Potty pads for seven days (minimum of two per day)

·        Disposable litter trays (i.e. aluminum roasting pan) and pet litter for seven days

·        Medication, if necessary, one week’s supply

·        Recent photos of pets

·        Veterinarian contact information 

To ensure supplies are fresh, it is a good idea to update emergency preparedness kits every six months.  Many choose to do so on daylight savings dates to remain consistent. 

Advise & Protect also recommends that seniors have the following interior and exterior items checked:

·        Check windows to ensure they open and close with ease and that locks work.

·        Basement and crawl spaces inspected for leaks and dampness.

·        Fireplace chimney cleaning each year at the beginning of fall.

·        Replacement of missing or damaged shingles on house and shed roofs.

·        Ensure flashing is secure around vents and chimneys.

·        Keep gutters clean and ensue they are aligned properly. 

·        Inspect caulking and weatherproofing and replace as necessary.

·        Cover air conditioner to prevent winter damage.

·        Cover outdoor faucets and exposed pipes with insulation.

·        Maintain storm drains and keep them free of debris.

·        Do not allow snow to build up on surfaces that can collapse.

·        Trim tree limbs that pose a risk to home or windows.

·        Consider installing a battery-operated back up for sump pumps to protect against power outages.

Following the above simple guidelines and maintaining the suggested emergency preparedness kits will help keep your elder warm, safe and secure in the event of an emergency which is important to all of us at Advise & Protect. Should you need assistance in locating any of the suggested items, please know you are welcome to contact us. Has your elder found themselves in an emergency situation and have additional advice that would be of help to other readers?  If so, please feel welcome and encouraged to contact us directly to share their experience and suggestions.


If you are in need of assistance with senior law, estate management, senior moving, downsizing, elder care, money management, medical equipment, senior home care, elder real estate sales or management, planning after life services, etc. please do not hesitate to call Advise & Protect Senior Care Consultants at 646-820-9202 so that we may aid in meeting your needs!



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