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Caring for Seniors during Extreme Weather

Recent weather events in Houston have brought disaster response back to the forefront.  How do Senior Care Agencies, like Senior Care Management Solutions, handle adverse weather conditions?  After all, clients are expecting care, and in many cases, can’t live without our caregivers.  So, when roads become impassable or power is out for extended periods of time, what should clients expect?  The fact is that we don’t realize how much we rely on the consistent operation of our power and water supply until it’s not available.  Driving a properly paved road is such a common luxury that when it’s icy or, as is the case in Houston currently, completely submerged in water, most of us have no way to travel.

So how do you deal with a homebound senior?

This is the predicament we encounter a few times a year.

In most instances, we deal with snow or icy conditions that making driving, at best, slow, and at worst, impossible.  So how does a company that is responsible for caring for seniors in their homes make certain that clients are seen and cared for?

Here’s what we do at Senior Care Management Solutions.

First, we can filter our clients in our software system by location and by level of care.  We are then able to know for certain which clients must be seen.  For example, a bed bound senior with no family or an individual with Alzheimer’s whose spouse is unable to help.  We reach the caregivers that serve these families and secure them transportation to the home, no matter what.  That means that I do it personally in my 4-wheel drive.  Our general manager also has a 4-wheel drive to help us navigate snowy, icy, or wet roads in order to transport our caregivers from their homes to the homes of our desperate clients.  In addition, our marketing vehicle also doubles as a caregiver transport vehicle, as it is equipped with all-wheel drive.

Next, communication is the key.  In a worst-case scenario when the office staff can’t make it to the office building, we are able to work remotely.  Each member of our scheduling team can communicate via email and cell phone in real time through our operating software.  Often, we are able to work with clients to adjust their shift times earlier or later than usual.  Or, we can accomplish some of the most pressing needs a client in a shorter than normally scheduled shift.  We communicate this with the clients and families.  The families often tell us to stay home, but sometimes there is no choice.

At this very moment, we are dealing with tornado warnings and heavy rain from the fall out of Hurricane Harvey.  Our staff is communicating with clients and caregivers to make sure all shifts are covered.  We’ve had many caregivers call to say they plan to report to their shift early so that may arrive safely to the clients’ home.  It’s quite impressive to see how much our staff cares for the clients we serve.

The events in Houston this week have been catastrophic.

There is no way to fully prepare for a full blown natural disaster such as Hurricane Harvey.  But the stories of heroism and good will have already begun to percolate from the depths of the muddy water.  And although a little ice storm or heavy rain and winds here in Memphis can’t begin to compare to the destruction and devastation of a hurricane, it’s still nice to see people step up and go the extra mile for someone else.  Thankfully, we see caregivers do this every day.  And today, in heavy rain and high winds, it’s no different.

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