Snowbird Update December 2016

I had a call the other day from someone at least 900 miles away whose elderly loved one decided they were sick of being cold in the winter. The new Snowbird has warmed up, but it’s an unsettling situation for loved one’s back home.

These are a few of the things that are creating worries up north in cold country:
1. As far as they know, this person never drew up paperwork naming a POA or Health Care Surrogate/Proxy if any emergencies arise. For sure. This is scary!
2. They don’t have a car, and don’t drive anymore so how will they get around on their own and will it be safe?
3. This person has no children of her own-just an elderly sister and at least one niece.
4. The person sold most of their belongings before they left.
5. A helpful (?) neighbor/friend had to assist the person to make airline reservations.
6. They don’t know if they should get down here and help to make sure everything’s ok, or not.
What a quandary to be in, especially only days before Christmas and a snowstorm brewing in their neck of the woods.

What can you do?

1. Even if they consider you a pest and they tell you it’s none of your business, encourage all elderly potential snowbirds to take care of their important legal paperwork. At least if they fly the coop unexpectedly, you may know with more certainty whether this has been done or not.
2. IF you have snowbird friends nearby the person’s that’s just escaped from the north, see if they can possibly go visit. If you don’t have anyone to call on to help, do as this caller did and call me.
3. Put this number on your emergency contact list on your phone:
Senior Solutions of Pinellas County -
Elder Care Issue Consulting/Care Coordination since 1998.
Jane D. Ogilvie, LPN, Owner
4. Contact me for help.
5. Relax again.

 Welcome Adult Children of Snowbirds!

This is a new section created exclusively for you, the worried “adult children” of the aging “Snowbird”.  As a “Year Rounder” on the Central Gulf Coast of Florida dealing daily with other worried “adult children”, I understand concerns you have about your aging loved ones being so far from home.  

If your parents have been coming down here for years, you may have learned to adapt to the stress of worrying. Still, each year you may ask, “What if…”?   If your parents are considering their first stay or are occasional Snowbirds, you may be filled with anxiety.  Here it is October and it won’t be long before they’re ready to leave you. They can’t wait! You may be wishing they’d change their minds! 

There is a simple solution to all of that unnecessary worrying.  Whether your aging loved ones are “regulars” in the Snowbird category and you have annual worries or they’re just winter-month worries, Senior Solutions of Pinellas County can help.  

Let’s go over some of the “What if” scenarios that cause you the most stress. I’m guessing your biggest worries are related to health problems that could come up. Does your parent have:

*high blood pressure and/or heart problems


*cataracts, macular degeneration, or reduced vision

*hearing problems

*ambulation problems

*medication problems

*verbal communication problems


*memory problems


These may be considered common problems for the elderly, but when they flare up out of the blue, the problems they can create are huge. If they were home and closer to you, you might be able to help. If they’re down here in sunny Florida, you may feel at a complete loss. 

Telephone calls don’t give you all of the information you need to ease your mind. Your parents may be like mine. They tend to tell you they’re “fine” even when they’re not! They don’t want to “bother” you because you’re “busy” and you “have lives and families of your own”. I’ve heard it all before.  Many of my other adult children have heard it too.


Your first indication that something is wrong might come from a hospital emergency room. This is a nightmare scenario. For starters you wonder:

* whether you need to book a flight?

* what happened?

* what are they “really” doing in the hospital for your mom or dad?

* are they in good enough shape to go back to wherever it is they’re staying?

* will they need more help there than your mom or dad is able to provide?

* whether they’ll recover from this setback?

* whether they go to any follow up doctor appointments?

* whether they take their medicines right or not?

* can they still drive or is that no longer an option?

* if they must fly back north, are they up to it?

* how will you get all of their things back up north?


An Extra Set of Eyes

These concerns and others are legitimate. We all get sick, accidents happen, and emergencies arise. Wouldn’t it be nice to have someone to call if any of these scenarios came up? Wouldn’t you like an extra set of eyes to look in on your folks from time to time and send you an email update the same day? Wouldn’t you like to know if it would be best for you to book that flight down as soon as possible, or that you didn’t need to take time off from work at all? Wouldn’t it be comforting to know if your parents were in need of anything, there was someone nearby to help?

If you’ve had these worries before, have them now, or don’t want to have them this winter, let’s talk. Send me an email (click on Further Information below), tell me the concerns you have about your parents or loved ones, and I’ll explain a care option that you may never have thought existed.

Our area is a winter “nesting” ground for northerners seeking refuge from freezing temperatures, gray skies and snowstorms.  Snowbirds replace their parkas with sweaters, their shovels with golf clubs, and howling frigid winds for warm tropical breezes. Who can blame them for wanting to head south?

While they’re here, it’s reassuring to know someone can help to make their stay as safe, healthy, secure, and enjoyable as possible.