We know as residents of coastal Virginia that hurricanes are enormously powerful storms.
They have the potential to cause widespread damage across large areas. As violent as these mega-storms can be, however, some of the worst effects occur after they pass. Flooding, fallen trees, and downed power lines can lead to all kinds of dangerous situations, especially for vulnerable seniors.
Unfortunately, the damage from any hurricane can be extensive.
For example, flood waters are usually contaminated, and can seep into tap water. Power outages are common, and restoring electricity can take days, or sometimes weeks, depending on where we live.
Helping seniors parents in Virginia, prepare starts with food and water safety. Let us share with you nine safety tips to assist, not only your aging parents here in Virginia, but you as well.
1- Make sure your senior loved ones have an ample supply of bottled water, and that it is stored where it will be safe from flooding. If the bottled water has an odor, it should not be consumed
2- Store non-perishable food items on shelves that are high enough to remain uncompromised by dirty flood waters.
3- Put appliance thermometers in the refrigerator and freezer to help indicate whether the inside temperatures are conducive for perishable food and liquids, like milk.
4- Purchase or make ice cubes in advance, and freeze gel packs prior to a storm.
5- Keep coolers of ice on hand to refrigerate foods if the power goes out for more than six hours.
6- Freeze containers of water to help keep food cold in the freezer, refrigerator, and coolers. If the normal water supply is contaminated or unavailable, the melting ice can also be used for drinking water.
7- Freeze pre-cooked meals and other nutritious food items before a hurricane arrives. This will help keep food at a safe temperature longer.
8- Group frozen foods together in the freezer, as it helps keep food items cold longer.
9- If food or beverage containers are used to hold non-food substances like gasoline, make sure to dispose of them after use and do not recycle them.
Remember, hurricane season begins in June and lasts through November, every year. Last year we avoided being hit by a storm of tremendous size but this does not mean we should be any less vigilant this year. Be sure to ask us your elder care questions regarding proper food and water precautions that can help senior parents make it through a worst case scenario.