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Holiday Is Ready So You Don’t Have to Be

Residents at Holiday Retirement communities and their loved ones rest easy during severe weather, knowing we’re taking care of everything. Living in a Holiday Retirement community means there’s always a plan in place and people to help you. We have proven disaster plans, back-up generators, and an abundance of resources and supplies, but best of all, we have staff who consider you their second family and will do everything possible to keep you safe and comfortable. No matter what part of the country you live in, Holiday is prepared for a variety of weather-related issues including severe storms, hurricanes, winter storms, wildfires, and tornadoes, and also the ways our communities make it easier to weather any type of major weather event.

 

Our Severe Weather Plan: Stay Safe With Holiday by Your Side

With a 50-year history of keeping residents safe in all kinds of weather, we know how to prepare for a storm at Holiday. Decades of experience have refined our emergency preparedness plans and taught us how to seamlessly manage the seasonal challenges we face every year. 

 

“Your meals are there, so you don’t have to leave the building,” said Thelen. “You have reliable heat and reliable meals. You also don’t have to worry about getting a 300 dollar utility bill one month because rent covers your heating and cooling year round.” 

 

Going through severe weather in one of our senior living communities is safer and easier than doing so at home alone. Here’s why:

Storm Prep

Severe weather can sometimes keep you hunkered down for days or weeks. No more worry about the pre-storm prep of racing to the store for food and supplies before the shelves are bare. No need to make sure you have supplies like blankets, candles, flashlights, and batteries in case there’s a power outage. Our senior living communities are prepared with the resources you need to ride out the storm. “We have multiple days worth of food on hand and a food delivery contract should we need to replenish our stock,” said Thelen. 

 

You never need to worry about preparing your house for a storm. “There’s a lot of preparation for the building,” said Thelen. “We make sure the heating and cooling systems work correctly and have the walking paths and outdoor spaces cleared.” 

 

You also don’t have to bother with regular year-round maintenance that keeps your house in fighting shape for severe weather like caulking, weather stripping, insulation, securing outdoor furniture, and testing smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. No need to hire someone to clean the gutters and make sure the roof is leak-proof and able to handle storms. One of the benefits of living in our senior living communities is all of that is handled for you. 

 

Our size and long-standing history in the industry allows us the resources and finances to pull every lever possible to keep residents safe. “We have expertise and budgets standing behind those sources,” said Todd Howell, director of procurement for Holiday Retirement communities. “Smaller places don’t have the finances and resources to put people up, cater meals, or pay for evacuation busses. Last minute stuff isn't cheap, but we’re not going to let our residents down.”  

 

Keeping You Safe During the Storm

Severe weather can be much more than an inconvenience, it can be dangerous if you’re not prepared or living alone. Power outages are common, and in extreme cases can go on for days or weeks. Our retirement communities have access to back-up power sources so you don’t have to worry about being too hot or too cold, food spoiling, or preparing meals during storms. “We make sure [residents] have three warm meals, giving them the comfort food that makes them feel happy and content, so they don’t have to brave the elements if they choose not to,” said Thelen. 

 

All our residents have personal emergency response devices. “The other nice piece is we always have our two-way interactive devices.” said Thelen. “In case [residents] feel scared or nervous, they can push the button and have access to another human to help them and listen to their needs. This may be an EMT or medical professional if it is a medical concern, or a kind agent who will connect them with their loved one or a member of the management team."

 

Evacuation Plan

If an evacuation is necessary, within a few hours, residents are prepared to pack a bag for a few days with clothes, medication, and other necessities. Holiday independent living communities contract with a bus broker in New York that has their finger on the pulse of the entire U.S. motorcoach market. We reserve top-of-the-line chartered motorcoaches that are new, nice, and comfortable to transport residences.

 

There’s always a nearby sister community ready to welcome residents. “Because most of our communities have a community that’s within driving distance, if there’s anything that would cause an evacuation, we can bus residents to shelter there if ever needed,” said Thelen. If there isn’t a nearby community, we evacuate residents to hotels, free of charge, and staff members stay at the hotels to assist residents.

 

Communities Helping Each Other

The Holiday spirit shines bright during challenging times. We rally together to support each other. When a senior living community is evacuated, the receiving community often throws a welcome party for their temporary neighbors. Evacuation buses arrive to cheering, music, and welcome signs. New friends are made over shared meals, activities, and games. 

 

Receiving sister communities are stocked with additional emergency supplies, specialized menus to feed more people, and any additional support needed to provide the best service possible during the emergency.

 

Communicating With Loved Ones

Our staff stay on top of severe weather warnings. When a storm is approaching, we keep residents aware and prepared though memos, emails, and consistent communication from our local management teams. Family communication is also important. We send your loved ones messages as well, so they’re in the know.

 

“We do our best to communicate pertinent information to our residents and family members as quickly as possible,” said Thelen. “We use our communication management system that includes emails, text messages, and even sometimes social media platforms.” 

 

Staying Put: Sheltering in Place at Our Independent Living Communities

While keeping residents safe and comfortable during storms, their routines stay the same through the bad weather as well as the days following when conditions may still be precarious. Everything you need is right in the community. You’re still enjoying three meals and snacks daily, as well as the companionship of neighbors. Salons are located within the community in case you want a cut or style.. 

 

“In a lot of our communities, doctors or other medical professionals like home care providers will come right to them,” said Thelen. “They can get whatever they want in their home. They don’t have to take a step outside our community. We have exercise equipment so they can still stay fit. We do a lot of activities with them so that they can connect with others going through the same thing, reminiscing, or taking their mind off of it.”

 

Return and Recovery

After the storm, we keep you safe too. If you’ve been evacuated, you can be sure that back at home, crews are performing damage assessments and getting the community  in order. When everything is determined safe, the motorcoaches transport residents back home.

 

You’ll return to cleared walkways with the building in tip-top shape. Any needed repairs will have been taken care of. If the surrounding neighborhood is still recovering but you need to go somewhere, complimentary transportation is handled. “You don’t have to worry about going out in your car, or going out at all if you don’t want to,” said Thelen. “If you want to go out, we will have the community bus escort you to your desired location.”

 

We’re Here for You During Severe Weather

Holiday senior living is here for residents 365 days a year. When you join one of our independent living communities or assisted living communities, you’ll rest easy knowing you’ll be safe and comfortable during the most difficult circumstances. Schedule a tour today and see for yourself why our residents like it here so much.

 

Severe Storms

Whether it’s a wind storm, hail storm, thunderstorm, or all of the above, Holiday senior living communities keep you safe by making sure the building is prepared and pertinent supplies and resources are on hand. The preparation and recovery from severe storms can be daunting if you live alone, but at Holiday we handle it all.

Severe Storm Prep

Our maintenance staff takes care of all the building upkeep so residences stay safe in severe storms. Trees are regularly trimmed to prevent loose branches from flying off. Roof shingles are secured, debris is cleared and any damage is repaired. We regularly clean drains and make sure water pumps are working properly. If strong winds are coming, staff bring in or move outdoor furniture to make sure it doesn’t cause a hazard.

 

As a rule, we always have critical resources and at least two weeks of food on hand, and our supply-chain relationships allow us to get even more if needed. Holiday senior living communities are at the same level of critical need as a hospital or school when it comes to supplies like food after a storm. “When there’s still chaos in the area due to power outages or closed roads, [our supplier] is putting all their effort behind just taking care of hospitals and companies like us,” said Howell. “The pizza restaurant down the street isn’t getting that level of service until everything is back to normal.” 

 

We’re always amazed at staff and residents’ resilience and great attitude during difficulties, but also the way our surrounding communities come through for us. “Another bright spot; we get surprised when a community crew or church knocks on our door during these events,” said Howell. “We’re hustling trying to keep everyone safe and happy, and they’re offering to volunteer.washing dishes or cleaning up the yard. The community really comes out without even asking just knowing there’s a community with seniors where a storm just hit: ‘Let’s go and help them out.’”

 

Hurricane Season

If you live in a hurricane hotspot, you know how terrifying hurricanes can be. In our 50 years, we’ve weathered dozens of hurricanes and refined our hurricane preparedness plans to account for every detail. 

 

Hurricane Prep

Hurricanes don’t take Holiday senior living communities by surprise. We’re in a constant state of readiness for any type of natural disaster. With the first inkling of a hurricane, we set the ball in motion to prepare for sheltering-in-place or evacuating during the storm. 

 

Holiday Retirement’s Disaster & Emergency Team works night and day during an impending hurricane threat to help communities prepare and recover from storms. “We’re receiving reports on the potential severity of a storm eight to ten days out,” said Todd Howell, director of procurement for Holiday Retirement communities. “There’s a tremendous amount of prep time, and certainly beforehand with food service. Well before the event, our teams are stocking up.”

 

All hands are on deck during a hurricane. Holiday senior living staff follow a detailed, step-by-step checklist to prepare their residents and building for a storm. Communities are well-stocked with palettes of water and food. Gutters, drainage pumps, battery-powered equipment, and backup power sources are all checked for optimum function and operation, and the building is secured.

Community staff are on site around the clock before, during, and after a hurricane. Our staff are dedicated to residents and regularly make personal sacrifices to ensure their safety during severe weather. “I’ve known general managers who’ve stayed in a community for four days knowing their house has been flooded and their car is a complete loss, but they don’t leave the building that whole time,” said Howell. “The dedication while knowing you’re so impacted personally,  but you're staying in the community four straight days. That happens.”

 

Whether Staying Put or Evacuating, You’re Safe

If residents evacuate to another Holiday retirement community, receiving sister communities are stocked with additional emergency supplies, specialized menus to feed more people, and any additional support needed to provide the best service possible during the emergency.

 

If residents aren’t evacuating, our senior living communities are prepared to safely ride out the hurricane together. With an impending storm, community teams get right to work on their hurricane preparedness plan. Recovery is swift and safe in our senior living communities. We have strong relationships with contractors and utilities companies to repair any building damage, attend to downed power lines, or restore power as soon as possible. Every community is equipped with back-up generators, which will keep a flow of electricity going for those that have sheltered-in-place and experienced a power outage. Staff are onsite around the clock to make sure everyone is safe and recovery efforts are moving along.

 

Winter Storms

Those who live in the Midwest or Northeast are all too familiar with the barrage of winter storm advisories, watches, and warnings that frequent the radio and television, and the ice, snow, and sleet that cover the land during winter months. Not only does severe winter weather cause headaches around shoveling sidewalks and being stuck at home, they’re also more dangerous as we age. 

 

A large study that analyzed hospital data over eight years found a significant rise in injuries among people aged 65 and older on the day of freezing weather warnings and several days following the warning. Other research showed seniors have two to three times more difficulty than younger people getting to work, volunteer jobs, and other activities during icy and snowy conditions. Being stuck at home during winter months sldo puts seniors at high risk for depression and health issues exacerbated by isolation. You can mitigate all of these risks when you live in a Holiday assisted or independent living community.

 

Winter Storm Prep

Holiday Retirement has 50 years of experience keeping our residents safe during severe winter weather. While we can’t make the winter months shorter, we can make them more worry-free and fun by taking care of all your needs.

 

Stay safe and comfortable during severe winter weather. We always have extra food on hand and have powerful supply-chain relationships to get more if the weather promises to be especially bad. Having reliable heat and utilities lessens the chances of losing power. In the case that we do lose power, most of our communities have back-up generators or are usually able to obtain them within a couple of hours.

 

Not just after a storm, but throughout the winter months, our maintenance team keeps walkways shoveled, salted, and safe for getting around, and complimentary transportation means you never need to drive on winter roads.

 

Even if we’re stuck inside during a winter storm, it’s so much better to be together, and we always make the most of it. Like when Winter Storm Elsa arrived in Farmington, CN in 2018 and our independent living community turned the lobby into an activity room with a fun day of games. From a Wii snowball fight and Wii bowling to hot cocoa and treats, residents had a blast. Or when residents rejuvenated with coconut face masks when a December storm hit the Woods at Canco. Then there was the time a surprise blizzard meant the big band for the New Years Eve Party had to cancel and residents rallied to bring the entertainment themselves. This was followed by a BYOB happy hour, resident-led champagne toast, dancing, fantastic meal, and confetti poppers. During severe winter weather, you’re safe, comfortable, and have many reasons to smile in one of our senior living communities.

 

Wildfires

Every year, images from the devastation of wildfires are all too familiar and frequent. Helicopters hover as national guards and firefighters try to rescue those who didn’t -- or couldn't -- evacuate from the flames. People who’ve lost everything, stand where their houses once stood wondering how they’ll start from scratch. Terrain, forests, and wildlife habitats are destroyed.

 

Wildfires can be particularly dangerous for older adults. People over age 85 are four times more likely to die in a fire than younger people. Seniors can have a harder time evacuating and are also more susceptible to respiratory complications from wildfire air pollutants. It's even more critical to have a support system during wildfire emergencies as we age.

 

Wildfire Prep

Holiday Retirement has 50 years of experience keeping older adults safe in emergencies. From the minute there’s a fire weather watch, community leaders as well as our National Disaster and Emergency team work behind the scenes to plan for a potential evacuation. You’ll have great peace of mind knowing if there’s an evacuation, we will always provide a safe place for you to stay where you’ll still receive meals, snacks, and support, and be around people who care about you. 

 

During a wildfire evacuation, we reserve comfortable motor coaches that are poised and ready to transport you and your neighbors to a nearby Holiday Retirement community out of the danger zone. You’ll feel at home seeing the familiar faces of staff from your own community who stay with you until it’s safe to return home. After the fire, you needn’t worry about making repairs or tending to smoke damage. That’s all taken care of as well. 

 

Holiday senior living communities across the nation are always prepared for emergencies like wildfires, but our communities in high-risk areas are especially diligent. Dale Jakubowski has been the general manager of Holiday’s Shasta Estates retirement community in Redding, CA for seven years. He’s seen several wildfires during his tenure and evacuated residents during the 2018 Carr Fire, the seventh-most destructive fire in California history. Jakubowski’s experience is a perfect example of how we keep our Holiday family safe during a wildfire. Read this community’s story here.

 

Tornadoes

Tornadoes are unpredictable, dangerous, and can turn life upside down in the aftermath. In Tornado Valley alone, twisters are responsible for more than 1,500 injuries, 80 deaths, and 400 million dollars in damage every year. 

 

One AARP survey found that 13 million U.S. seniors need help evacuating in natural disasters. Other research shows people age 60 and over are at greater risk of hospitalization and death from a tornado. Financial burden takes a toll as well. Battles with insurance companies over damage claims can be difficult, and older adults are sometimes victims of fraudulent repair contractors who don’t perform work after payment. Avoid all of these risks when you live in a Holiday Retirement independent living community or assisted living community.

 

Tornado Prep

Holiday Retirement communities are prepared in the face of severe weather and natural disasters. We have proven emergency plans, abundant resources, and staff and neighbors who look out for each other during times of trouble. If our independent living communities are damaged during a storm, residents are welcomed into a nearby Holiday community or enjoy complimentary hotel accommodations until we complete necessary repairs.

 

Because of the nature of tornadoes, being prepared for one is something that happens throughout the year. The average warning time before a tornado strikes is 13 minutes. That being said, our independent living communities are primed and ready with building upkeep and essential items well before tornado season, so you don’t have to be. We always have plenty of flashlights, batteries, first aid supplies, tools and equipment, and extra food on hand. We also regularly check drainage pumps, battery-powered equipment, and backup power sources for optimum functioning.

 

Education is also part of tornado preparation. We make sure all residents and staff know what to do during a tornado to be safe. Packets and seminars on emergency preparedness provide our Holiday family safety tips and instruction on the building's emergency plan and escape routes. 

 

Staying Safe During a Tornado

If a tornado warning is issued and there’s enough time to mobilize, we shut all doors and windows and gather residents in the hallways on the lowest level of the building away from doors, windows, and outside walls. Staff monitor emergency weather services and keep residents up to date. There’s no question that tornadoes can be frightening, but everyone feels better being together and knowing they’ll get whatever help they need.

 

Clean-Up and Repairs in the Aftermath of Tornadoes

After a tornado, we make sure all residents are accounted for and we attend to any medical needs or injuries. Associates make sure the building is safe, checking for fires, gas leaks, and other dangers. The fire department or gas and electric companies turn the utilities back on if they were shut off during the storm, and we begin assessing the damage and making plans for repairs. If common areas or senior apartments have been damaged and are unsafe, residents stay at a sister Holiday community or hotel while repairs are taken care of. During evacuations, Holiday senior living staff always accompany residents and stay with them until it’s safe to return to the community. Read how one of our communitys weathered a tornado. 

 

Don’t Weather the Storm Alone

Severe weather can be nerve-wracking if you live alone. A big peace of mind for our residents is knowing that there’s always someone there to lean on. “I think the coolest part is it's not always our staff who are providing the support and comfort, It's our residents supporting each other too,” said Samantha Thelen, regional director of operations for Holiday Retirement’s Great Lakes region. “The residents are such an important part of our community team. We have had residents come to us saying, ‘My friend hasn’t come out,’ or ‘I’m worried about my friend,’ and we’ll check on them.” 

 

Living alone without needed resources and support from others during severe weather gets tougher as we age. Mobility issues, chronic health conditions, and lack of help can make older adults more vulnerable during and after natural disasters. In older age, getting to a safe space, stocking up on crucial supplies, evacuating, and paying for repairs in the aftermath of severe weather is often more difficult. When you live in one of our independent or assisted living communities, you don’t need to worry about these challenges.

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