Your Proactive Caregiver Advocate: Dr. Cynthia Speaks!

Topic: Caregivers-Caregiving, and Weather

Today is a great day to discuss caregiving and weather. It’s a rainy day in Texas! I love the rain. My garden loves the rain. My lawn loves the rain, and my lawn maintenance company loves the rain, too. When we think about the weather, we must also care for our older adults and loved ones during inclement conditions. Safety, first…Right?

As a people, we rarely think about the weather until an event presents itself. That is not the time to get in gear! Being practical based on situations or circumstances is proactive. In the thick of a problem, reactive actions and behaviors can be costly and deadly. The hurricanes in the Texas regions should have taught us something. We still see on the news, cars still driving in high water when we hear turn around, don’t drown. We continue to see vehicles being swept away and sad to say many are seniors. It is obvious we need to continue to educate and inform for safety sake. You would not believe the seniors in this circle.

Today, in Texas, it is raining. I hear that Nicolas is in the Gulf of Mexico. Looking outside of my windows, I believe it. The trees in my back yard are swaying, and it is raining cats and dogs! The meteorologist is predicting flooding in some areas. If anyone knows anything about Houston….it has real problems with flooding when it rains for long periods.

What advice is essential to have as it relates to weather and caregiving? Going out should be a mindfully and well-thought consideration. Where there is a history of known problems related to long-term raining, staying indoors is the only option. Many seniors still drive. Some still operate cars when the keys should have been arrested years back. This is often missed because before a caregiving obligation is assessed, independent seniors, unaware of their cognitive or physical declines, continue their daily habits, including driving a car. Sadly, seniors have driven into lakes and ponds because the streets have turned to rivers, and it becomes hard to see the road. This happened to a dear friend’s mother. A heartbreaking reality was when she was found in her car a week later off the road.

Weather Awareness Take All Hands on Deck

Why should all hands, meaning caregivers, family, and friends make weather conditions a priority? Because when you operate in a reactive manner, it can be costly. We must be mindful of reduced traction when driving on wet roads. Rainfall decreases visibility and increases the chance of accidents. Reaction time in seniors can also be diminished and the lack of awareness of speed and distance between cars is dangerous. As your Proactive Caregiver Advocate, here are my nuggets…If traveling in bad weather can be avoided, do so. Please wait for the weather to clear up. If you, the caregiver, transports loved ones for appointments, decide to delay and reschedule. As caregivers, we have to make decisions for those we love and care for. Thank you in advance for being weather aware. Be well.

Dr. Cynthia J. Hickman is author and speaker. Her book: From the Lens of Daughter, Nurse, and Caregiver: A Journey of Duty and Honor shares caregiving tips.