This article was originally posted on the Ohio Department of Aging website:
Columbus, Ohio – With sustained, bitter cold temperatures and dangerous wind chills predicted for all of the state this week, the Ohio Department of Aging reminds all Ohioans to treat extreme temperatures just as you would a coming snow or ice storm. Be prepared and check on older loved ones and neighbors before, during and after the mercury drops.
“Extremely cold temperatures can take a physical toll on all of us, but also threaten important parts of community and home infrastructure that we and our older loved ones rely upon to stay safe and comfortable in our homes,” said Ursel McElroy, director of the department. “Take some time before the temperature drops to ensure you are ready for the worst and have a plan in place should your health be affected, or it becomes unsafe to stay in your home.”
Body changes as we age, prescription medications and more can make older adults more susceptible to the ravages of bitter cold temperatures. In addition, prolonged cold conditions like those expected this week raise the risk of freezing home plumbing, community water main breaks, automobile failure, transportation interruptions, power outages, home heating system failures and more.
Throughout the week, call or visit older loved ones and neighbors to ensure they are safe, warm and healthy, and have the means to stay that way.
Ohioans who live in nursing homes also can be at increased risk from severe winter weather. The Office of the State Long-Term Care Ombudsman at the Department of Aging advises family members and concerned friends to call loved ones’ nursing homes to check conditions there and ask how the facility is staffed.
Visit www.aging.ohio.gov/safeathome for additional tips and resources to prepare for severe weather and other emergencies.
If you or an older loved one become ill or injured during the storm, or if it becomes unsafe to stay in your home for any reason, call 9-1-1 for emergency assistance. Check local media or call local law enforcement to learn about the availability of warming centers or emergency shelters. Your area agency on aging can help identify emergency resources and services in your community. Visit the Ohio Department of Aging’s website (www.aging.ohio.gov) for contacts or call 1-866-243-5678 to be connected to the agency serving your community.
About ODA – The Ohio Department of Aging serves and advocates for the needs of Ohioans age 60 and older, as well as their families, caregivers and communities. Programs include home and community based long-term supports and services, as well as initiatives to promote health and wellness throughout the lifespan. Visit www.aging.ohio.gov.