MetroWest is expecting upwards to 12 inches of snow tomorrow (March 13, 2018). The threat of a big winter storm is often a cause of anxiety for seniors and caregivers. With dangerously cold weather returning, don’t forget to check on your elderly friends and neighbors.
1. Plan to Help the elderly; Don’t Wait for Them to Ask
Most seniors have lived very independently for most of their lives and are not used to asking others for assistance. Many times, they may feel like they are bothering you if they ask for help, or they may sometimes be too proud to ask for help. Even though they are the most in need, they may be the least likely to approach you for help- so make a plan to reach out to them, and don’t expect them to make the first move.
2. Check on Them Before and After Storms
You should keep informed on up-to-date weather forecasts, and check that your elderly neighbors are doing well just before and immediately following blizzards, ice storms, and power outages. If they are snowed in for a time and alone, make sure they have a battery-powered radio, a first aid kit, their prescription medications, and all other needful supplies.
3. Try to Keep Them From Shoveling and Walking on Ice
Snow shoveling, even for a short time span, can burden the heart and raise blood pressure. This is dangerous for many seniors who already suffer from various cardiac conditions, so consider shoveling their walk and driveway for them. As slipping can occur on even a small patch of ice, make sure you salt and sand wherever appropriate.
4. Try to Keep Them From Venturing Outside
A breath of fresh air may well do everyone some good, but in the wintertime, the elderly can easily get frostbite or hypothermia if outside in freezing temperatures for very long. You can bring your elderly neighbor’s mail or newspaper to the door and pick up groceries or other items for them on your way home from work to minimize their time out in the cold.
5. Prepare for the aftermath
Once a storm is over, it will likely leave piles of snow in its wake. There are many reasons why the elderly should not be shoveling snow, but it’s also imperative that they don’t have an icy walkway that could contribute to a slip and fall accident. As mentioned above, make sure you salt and sand wherever appropriate.