winter emergency preparedness

Winter Emergency Preparedness and Aphasia

Winter is here. Whether you’re managing the cold or dealing with an upcoming snowstorm, we have tips on how to stay safe during winter weather when you’re navigating aphasia.

Special Needs Emergency Registry

Many areas have a special needs emergency registry. Google that term along with your local or state government to see how you can add yourself or your loved one to the list. For example, Rhode Island’s registry explains that people with communication issues can add themselves to the list. The program passes along information to first responders in the event of an emergency.

Hopefully you won’t need a first responder this winter, but it helps if the team comes in knowing about aphasia ahead of time.

Create an Explanation Sheet

In the same vein, create an emergency explanation sheet to hand to anyone who comes to help — from first responders to the neighbour who’s stopping by to see if they can shovel your walk. A quick paragraph explaining aphasia as well as some helpful information or answers that you can point to on the sheet will help with communication. Make sure you include contact information for a loved one in case you need someone to make a call. Also include communication tips for the other person, such as speaking slower or asking yes/no questions.

Keep Communication Tools Charged

Some storms come with power outages, so make sure you’re prepared if your communication tools require batteries. Pick up a few extra packages of batteries long before an upcoming storm since stores often run out of this item before a storm hits. If your device uses a rechargeable battery, keep your device plugged in to a power source when not in use. If you do lose power, you’ll have a full charge until they restore power.

Portable powerbanks can also be charged ahead of time. These devices will allow you to recharge a mobile device when you’re without electricity.

Get Creative

If you’re stuck in the house either due to inclement weather or extreme cold, ask if your speech therapist would be willing to do the session over a video feed such as Skype or FaceTime. Technology is a great way to circumvent the weather and stick to your speech therapy schedule.

What other wintry tips do you have for people navigating the weather and aphasia?

Image: Bob Canning via Unsplash



  • Linda Gordon
    January 16, 2018 at 10:21 am

    I am new to this. Totally at a loss, there are no support groups close and my transportation died. You mention emergency lists and a handout – but I have no clue where to go or what to write. Charge up communication tools, what communication tools. How can I afford them, are they covered by Medicare? Do you have some type of first time kit you can send out. I am sole caregiver of my husband, I have three parents in their 90’s who need care – I really can’t search out a lot on the net. Communications are sooooooo difficult when I don’t understand him and he does not understand me and the only words that come out loud and audible are cuss words. It is crushing.

  • Dee Trasen
    January 16, 2018 at 12:32 pm

    The reminder to ask (only) Yes or No questions
    Is excellent. Thank you.

  • Patricia Haynes
    January 17, 2018 at 10:03 am

    I don’t think I can afford to go out, I am looking after a 4 yr Alzheimer’s husband. I play bridge in a very good club, which takes 4 hours but until the government looks after the careri can’t go out unless I pay £15 per hour for a sitter Dr won’t consider nursing home, I lent Bridge when I was 50, getting ready for my old age, I am a fit 82 year old and feel very bitter,

    Sorry about the moaniing, I want everybody to about the Carres.

    Patricia Haynes.1

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