Winter tips for seniorsAh, Minnesota winters. Blizzards, freezing temperatures and visiting the ER because you fell on the ice.
Ah, Minnesota winters. Blizzards, freezing temperatures and visiting the ER because you fell on the ice.
Many of our seniors live alone and that independence is very important, but Minnesota winter weather can be a challenge for them.
Weather forecasts have been known to be wrong or ignored, so we need to be prepared for whatever Mother Nature throws at us. Here is a list of things that I remind seniors about:
• Dress warmly when going outside, even if it is just for a few minutes to fill the bird feeders. Button your coat, wear boots, gloves and a hat.
• Put the cordless phone or cell phone in your pocket when you are going outside. If you should happen to fall, you can call for help.
• Keep the melting salt near your front door. It's too heavy to drag around. Use a decorative can or a pail if you think the bag looks tacky. Be sure to have a scoop in there as well.
• Keep the snow shovel inside or within arm's reach of the door.
• Push the snow to the side, don't lift and toss it off. You just need to clear a path.
• Hold on to the railing when going down the steps; sprinkle salt if it's icy.
• Make sure your fuel or propane tank is full.
• Is there wood for the fireplace? Try to keep a few pieces inside so they will be dry.
• Make sure your chimney has been cleaned.
• Do you have extra batteries for the flashlights? Do you know where they are?
• Do you have plenty of water on hand?
• Do you have enough food for three to five days just in case you are snowed in?
• Try to keep at least a week’s supply of prescription medications on hand.
• If the weather looks iffy, don't drive if you don't have to. Make sure you have a winter survival kit in your car and plenty of extra blankets and warm clothing.
• Consider getting a cell phone if you don't already have one. Maybe ask your kids to put you on their plan. That can be much cheaper.
• Replace the rubber tip on your cane if it's worn. An ice pick can be fitted to the end of the cane for added stability in the winter.
While some of these tips are common sense, some older people have trouble accepting that they may not be able to do what they did last year.
Don't treat the seniors in your life as if they're old, infirm and forgetful, even if they are. Take a caring approach when reminding them of winter hazards. Call them every day, especially when severe winter weather is expected.
Hang in there, only two more months of winter!