Commentary: Helping seniors weather any storm

For many enjoying their retirement years, living independently at home for as long as possible is a priority. But when a major weather event such as Hurricane Irma hits close to home, new questions and concerns arise. That is where Senior Choice at Home can help.Seniors living at home when Hurricane Irma’s track targeted our coast were faced with many decisions, such as whether to evacuate, where to go and how to get there safely. They, too, needed to do the heavy lifting involved in storm preparation: Preparing their homes, purchasing water and filling prescriptions so they would be ready in case of prolonged power and communication outages.

At the same time, their connection to home became even stronger. After all, home isn’t just somewhere to live. Home is a place filled with lifelong memories and daily routines that instill emotional and physical security.

The prospect of losing your home is always hard to face, but the dangerous reality of this impending storm had to be taken seriously.

Here’s how Senior Choice at Home helped its members weather the storm. First, we checked in on every member to ensure they were taking precautions and had a safe place to ride out the storm. Then, we went to work, helping those who needed some assistance.

For example, when Senior Choice at Home members Deihl and Jo Sluss were advised to evacuate their home near Sanibel, we offered them a safe place to stay at Gulf Coast Village in Cape Coral. There, they stayed for nearly a week while waiting for power to be restored at their home. The couple was provided with accommodations and dining options, as well as access to all the amenities that the continuing care retirement community has to offer.

When preparing for a bad storm like Hurricane Irma, we all have different needs. Each stage of life requires a different plan. For the Sluss family, Senior Choice at Home was their plan. Membership meant they had a safety net and someone to advocate for them during a time of need.

Aging in place and long-term care planning options are plentiful in Southwest Florida, and it’s become more and more apparent that a care coordinator is important.

In fact, a recent Harris Poll study found that 68 percent of hospitalized seniors were left alone to make complicated after-care plans. Having an advocate who understands your individual medical and health insurance needs is invaluable, especially during times of crisis.

Senior Choice at Home by Gulf Coast Village is focused on enabling seniors to live independently for as long as possible, with the added benefit of knowing that alternate living options are there if needed.

Ultimately this means members can continue to enjoy their current lifestyles without having to worry about their future care, even when a storm approaches.

For more information on Senior Choice at Home, go to www.SeniorChoiceAtHome.com or call 239-362-9153.