3 Similarities Between Preparing for a Snowstorm & Care Planning for an Aging Loved One

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Last week we had a snowstorm in Atlanta. We typically have about one a year; although this was already our second of this winter.  As you can imagine, though, only having snow so rarely means when the threat looms, no one really knows what to expect.

If you have aging family members, this feeling likely sounds familiar.

Knowing something is coming and actually being prepared for it are two very different things.

The forecast for the first snow was for Atlanta to receive 1 to 2 inches. Some areas ended up receiving as much as 10 inches of snow, with most in the 4 to 6 inches range.

Last week we were told “up to an inch, but likely won’t accumulate” and then woke up to 2 inches covering as far as the eye could see.

The entire Atlanta community was faced with unforeseen adversity, ranging from power outages to impassable roads and school closings stretching out to three days after the storm had passed through.


Below are three similarities we identified between the snowstorm last week in Atlanta and similar preparations being made across the country as our population continues to age and we look for the best ways to take care of our loved ones:

#1 It never turns out to be what you were expecting.

Rarely have we seen a snow prediction that’s exactly correct. As mentioned above, the most recent forecasts were not even remotely close to actual accumulation. Conversely, had the predictions been much higher and less snow fell than expected, we would have groaned about kids missing school and all the extra time you spent waiting in grocery store lines!

As loved ones age, no predictions or expectations will ever match the outcome. The key is to be present, be flexible and, most importantly, be patient.

#2 Over-preparing is better than under-preparing.

While no one likes to have too much milk in the fridge (the dreaded race against the expiration date!), over-preparing is obviously the better option when there is an incoming weather event. At my house, we’re still working our way through the cases upon cases of bottled water stocked up from September’s hurricane… but you won’t find me complaining because the alternative would have created dire circumstances.

Spending additional time educating yourself by reading online articles, speaking with physicians or attending local AARP meetings on aging will always be time well spent. Hopefully most you learn will never be needed in your own family’s circumstances, but better to know and not need than need and not know!

#3 Collaborating always produces better results.

We spent most of last Tuesday on the road, having taken a long weekend trip. Knowing there was a “slight chance” of snow and - having been gone a few days - arriving home to an empty pantry, a grocery store run was in order. In preparation, we also needed to cover some plants in the backyard, run laundry, disconnect the hose outside, spread salt on the patio steps to minimize ice, et cetera. In the interest of time, we decided to divide and conquer (plus give our girls some chores to do around the house). The end result? What at first glance appeared to be a lengthy list of items to accomplish was fully complete in roughly an hour.

Dividing responsibility amongst family members is vital to efficiency, and caring for an aging loved one is no different. When you collaborate with others in providing care, it lessens the individual burden of care and typically provides greater end results.


A recurring theme from these three points? Making continual efforts to prepare for what the future may hold is the key to successfully navigating the life changes that come along with aging.

Because we know forecasts don't always accurately predict the future, Tomeah Health provides a technology platform to the best home care providers in order to support, encourage and collaborate with your family during your time of need.  

 

Matt Pierce