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Adding “Storm Season” to the Family Summer Calendar

A key skill for a professional care manager is the ability to look down-the-road, even in the middle of a crisis.  While a tricky balance, care managers regularly help families use the calendar as another resource in a loved one’s care.

When it comes to hurricane season, care managers like to reframe the topic.

What if we delegated the same amount of time to planning for the Hurricane/Storm Season, as we do for Thanksgiving and December holidays?

This kind of dramatic weather planning includes identifying goals, current circumstances, key tasks, and making note of any special resources the older adult may need. In addition, it includes asking critical questions before they need to be asked.

As an example, one of Elder Advisory Group’s care managers tells her own family hurricane planning story. As the designated family caregiver for her mother, she received from Mom’s assisted living facility a form to be signed. It asked: “If the facility must evacuate, will you take your mother or do you want her to stay with us?”

The daughter called her brother and sister-in-law to talk it over, thinking this would be simple to answer.  Mom was relatively mobile, loved the entire family, and didn’t see her son often. Road trip! So, daughter called them asking, “Pete, ok if Mom comes to stay with you awhile if the facility must evacuate for any reason?”  There was a VERY long silence (thud, actually.) The son coughs. Finally, the sister-in-law says, “Of course! Sign us up.”

Thankfully, there was no need for relocation that year. But the questions (and related fees to evacuate with the facility or not,) promoted healthy discussions (and emotions) about the entire topic.

Here’s a select list of topics and tips we review with families ahead of Hurricane Season and emergency preparation:

  1. Understand that most everyone is stressed these days, without this seasonal addition. One key is alleviating uncertainty as much as possible for everyone. How? Yes, a Plan.
  2. Guideline: Talk through various scenarios and “what ifs.” As we all know, it’s often not the direct impact of a storm that’s the problem. The issue is normally the aftermath…sometimes without power, A/C, fuel, access to food, caregivers, or overall support. Whether at home or in a facility, a customized family “Storm Guide” drafted and easily available reminds every one of the basics and clarifies the current issues. Dust off the list of supplies and adapt it to your loved one’s current needs.
  3. Next: create or update a Communications/Contact List. This should have key family members, friends, doctors, healthcare providers, pharmacy, hospital of choice, etc. Add the med list, brief medical history, and current circumstances to the information arsenal.
  4. Create a special “Mom/Dad List” (this can be the “fun” part) that includes the items like:
    • Electronics/Batteries: Batteries or chargers for hearing aids, mobile phones, scooters, oxygen tanks, iPads… make a list and be sure everything is well-marked. Just like camping!
    • Amusement: List current pastimes that provide some pleasure, familiarity, and focus. Consider new, appropriate items that may create interest, joy, or curiosity. Adapt the list to accommodate the loved one’s ability and interest. This list can be an on-going source of support for upcoming holidays and birthdays.
    • Examples: Small photo album of family with names and ages. Special “little black book” of family names, ages, phone numbers (as appropriate.) Special foods as a treat and/or when needed for a special diet. Small candy bag for gum, lifesavers, tic-tac’s. Hanging or waist “purse” for phone/lipstick. Fun glasses case, special writing/doodling paper and pen.
    • Other: Extra pair of glasses, sunglasses, hat, Bible, small lap blanket or pillow, and lipstick/chapstick.

Busy schedules due to work or health challenges can cloud the need to prioritize and plan ahead. Since Hurricanes Katrina, Rita, Harvey and countless other storms, the lessons are clear. While it’s sometimes hard to gear-up again year-after-year, living the lessons will make “the next time” that much smoother.

Our team at Elder Advisory Group provides collaboration and energy to help families manage the challenges today and stay ahead of new challenges in the future. We know all too well what Houston summers can bring and are experienced with a wide range of care challenges. Call us today for a free phone consultation about how we can help: 713-624-4288 or via our website,



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