After the age of about nine or ten very few people actually like winter. Sure, it may be fun to look out at fresh snow, but then comes the morning when you need to shovel out your car, or trudge through slush and sleet to get to work. Winter also poses a lot of dangers hidden in the forms of black ice, melting snow, and potentially lethal icicles. You may be able to keep up with all of these dangers by regularly taking care of your home, but your elderly neighbours might find it a much more difficult task. Here are just a few ways to help them out this winter, so that everyone can enjoy the glittering snow at least once in a while.
Don’t Wait to be Asked
First of all, if you truly want to assist your elderly neighbours, you need to be proactive by stepping up and helping them without an invitation. Most older people are used to being independent and will not willingly ask for help, even if they could use it. They may also feel like they will be a bother if they ask. Therefore, you will need to reach out to them in order to help, but even if they attempt to tell you they are fine, they will end up deeply appreciating the effort.
Once you reach out to them to offer help you will want to maintain contact to make sure that they remain okay throughout the winter season. Storms may be a particular hazard for them, but so is daily winter weather. It can be hard for them to get out and navigate through the snow, even if the weather is clear for the day. Stop in and say hello at least once a week, or ask for their phone number so that you can check in. When you talk, see if they have enough food in, and ask them generally how their health is.
Storms & Ice
You also will want to make sure that you make an extra effort to check in with them before and after a large storm hits. By keeping up with the weather forecasts, you can make sure that they are OK following any power cuts that may result from a blizzard or ice storm. If your area is snowed in frequently, you should check that your elderly neighbours have a first aid kit, a battery-powered radio, and all of their medications in stock beforehand.
They can be stubborn from time to time, and may want to head outdoors even on days they know that they shouldn’t. The elderly are much more susceptible to hypothermia and frostbite, so on cold days, help out by picking up a few groceries for them, bringing their post up to the house, or tossing the newspaper out of the driveway and up to their door.
On the same principle, you should offer to shovel the snow for them during the winter months. The elderly are prone to heart attacks that can be brought on by shovelling snow in cold temperatures. You also should throw some salt down on any ice you see, as older people can seriously harm themselves if they slip on any icy patches.