Preparing for Winter Weather with Older Loved Ones

image of a blue house in several feet of snow

Severe winter weather is descending across the United States, which greatly impacts the safety and well-being of the elderly, especially when the weather event is unexpected or comes fast. Here are some tips from the experts in aging well® to help your older loved one prep for winter weather.

Before a Storm

• Stay informed: Sign up for severe weather alerts through your local city/county/state resource
• Refill prescriptions and have an extra supply of other medical necessities on hand
• Buy extra food, including non-perishables, and bottled water (remember pet food and supplies too!)
• Keep vehicles filled with gas and have tires checked for safety
• Clear debris from downspouts and gutters
• Have trees inspected and remove any dead limbs
• Plan evacuation routes, including medical centers
• Identify an individual or company to shovel snow from driveways and stairs
• Clear outside furnace vents and check that carbon monoxide alarms are working
• Inspect outside plumbing, insulating any exposed pipes
• Know the locations of emergency warming stations in your city

Prepare for Power Outages

• If using oxygen, bi-pap, c-pap or other equipment, you will need a generator
• Purchase battery operated, plug-in lights that automatically turn on when the power goes out
• Make sure you have working flashlights within reach and extra batteries
• Keep cell phones charging so you have a full charge at power loss

Plan for Caregivers

If you rely on caregivers, consider the following:
• Arrange for a live-in caregiver for the duration of the weather event
• Build a relationship with neighbors who may be able to temporarily fill-in
• Plan a temporary or respite stay with a nursing home, assisted living community, or hospice


• Keep areas around space heaters clear
• Use space heaters with automatic shut-off
• Do not use gas stoves or ovens as a heating source
• Do not attempt to climb ladders
• Do not walk on frozen stairs, sidewalks, or driveways

For more winter weather tips and planning, visit the Winter Safety section of the National Weather Service.
With knowledge of local resources, An Aging Life Care Professional® can build an emergency weather plan for your aging loved one. Find one at