Agency on Aging: Check on older neighbors

COLUMBUS — Winter Storm Harper brought snow, ice, high winds and bitter cold temperatures to most of Ohio, Jan 19 and 20.

Weather-related road conditions, utility outages and more are dangers for all Ohioans, but can be especially hazardous for older adults. The Ohio Department of Aging asks all Ohioans to check on older loved ones and neighbors before, during and after a storm. Here are some things to ask about when you call or visit:

• Do they need medical attention? Have they fallen? Are they staying warm enough? Are they taking their medications as prescribed?

• Do they have safe food and water? Are they eating and drinking regularly?

• Is the temperature in their home comfortable? Do they have safe means to heat the home if temperatures continue to fall?

• Whom will they call if they need help? Do they have access to a phone that will work without power or landline service?

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 advises to call loved ones’ nursing homes to check conditions there and ask how the facility is staffed.

If an older person becomes ill or injured during a storm, or if it becomes unsafe to stay at 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. The area agency on aging can identify emergency resources and services in the community. Visit the Ohio Department of Aging’s website ( for contacts or call 866-243-5678 to be connected to the agency serving the local community.

The Department of Aging’s “Safe at Home” web page ( includes resources for older Ohioans to be prepared for emergencies.