How to Help Elderly Neighbors Prepare Their Homes for Harsh Winters
Cold winters are arguably hard for people of all ages to tolerate but they can be especially bothersome for elderly individuals because they may be more sensitive to frigid temperatures and lack the physical capabilities to do things such as shovel snow or carry firewood. However, there are several things you can do to assist elderly neighbors in your area either before winter occurs or right in the midst of the season.
Take Them Shopping for Emergency Supplies
As soon as weather forecasters announce winter weather’s on the way, people characteristically rush to the nearest grocery and home improvement stores to stock up on essentials. Sometimes the demand for items is so great that stores quickly sell out of things people think they can’t do without.
You can help elderly people avoid the hustle and bustle altogether by taking them to pick up some emergency supplies for a disaster preparedness kit before winter weather threatens. Some examples of good supplies to have are flashlights and batteries, non-perishable food, and containers of drinking water. After purchasing those things, help the elderly individuals put the items in storage so they’re easy to access but not in the way of everyday life.
Discuss Snow Removal and Access Methods
A heavy snowfall or severe ice storm could make it so an elderly person is housebound for several days. That’s why it’s a good idea to talk about some preliminary measures for tackling snow and ice, as well as things to do for removing it.
While having these conversations, keep any physical limitations in mind and be aware that such issues may not mean a person is entirely helpless as far as dealing with ice and now. For example, the individual may not be able to handle using a snow shovel or snow blower but could perhaps pre-treat surfaces with salt to make them less treacherous.
If possible, try to make it to elderly people’s houses as soon as possible after winter storms to at least create paths for them to be able to leave their residences. Keep in mind that some community groups may offer free or low-cost snow removal service too.
Recommend They Get Their Heaters Tuned Up
Broken heaters are extremely inconvenient during winter months because they may make homes nearly uninhabitable. It’s smart to suggest that the elderly people you know call professionals in their area to request heating services. Technicians can thoroughly assess their systems and see if they spot things that may turn into severe problems if not immediately resolved.
Some elderly people may be resistant to scheduling such services if money is tight, but you might be able to change their minds by reminding them how unpleasant it would be to go without a heater in the winter. If cost is a genuine concern, consider paying at least part of the cost for heater servicing and think of it as your way to make meaningful impacts on the lives of elderly individuals that live near you.
You’ve just learned about a few things you can do to make winter weather much easier to bear for older people. Your thoughtfulness and helpful attitude could really pay off and may even save lives.