BATON ROUGE, La. (BRPROUD) – With hurricane season fast approaching, Louisianans are doing what they can to prepare for the potential of bad weather.

It’s something locals are used to. Every year, they tune in to newscasts that issue reminders regarding storm preparation and stock up on items that will come in handy during power outages. 

But the St. George Fire Department used its Facebook page to post a timely suggestion that is rarely mentioned. 

On Friday, St. George reminded Louisianans to not only see to their own hurricane preparations, but to remember to check on their neighbors and make sure they’re prepared as well. 

The post said:

“Many people rely on their neighbors after a disaster, but there are also many ways you can help your neighbors before a hurricane approaches. Take inventory! If you don’t know your neighbors, now would be a good time to reach out and make friends.”

St. George Fire

This is especially true of elderly neighbors. According to one source, nearly 35 percent of Louisiana’s population is 50 years of age or older. This indicates that quite a few of the individuals living right next to us may need assistance with hurricane preparations. 

So, what can a person do to help their elderly neighbor? 

According to an article by Companions for Seniors, we can offer to take on several simple tasks to assist, such as: 

Bringing them water or other healthy juices – If a senior takes a number of medications, these may cause dehydration, which will make it extremely difficult for them to adapt to extreme weather conditions.

Ensuring that they have weather-appropriate clothing – If the weather is extremely hot, your neighbor may need loose, lightweight, and light-colored clothing. And due to the threat of stormy weather, items such as rain boots, a raincoat, and even an umbrella may be necessities that they haven’t been able to get for themselves. 

Making sure they have a way to stay cool – If weather is extreme and your elderly neighbor doesn’t have air conditioning, it may be helpful to invite them to a place in your home where they can stay cool, or to set them up with a battery-operated fan.  

Helping them keep their emergency contacts up-to-date – It may be a good idea to help your neighbors keep their emergency contacts programmed in their cell phone in addition to having a hard copy of the emergency contacts list in a common area, like on the fridge.

Helping them maintain their home for safety – If they have a generator, help them make sure it’s safe to use. Additionally, it may be a good idea to help them fix loose shutters or other window problems, and to cut tree branches that may become hazardous during strong storm winds. 

Taking an active interest in an elderly neighbor’s welfare may save their life. But an article from Capital Health Network notes that being a helpful neighbor does not mean being an intrusive neighbor. 

According to the article, a great way to politely see to an older neighbor’s needs is to gradually build a friendly relationship with them and work to sustain it by checking in on them from time to time. 

Click here for additional information related to assistance for the elderly.