Baby It's Cold Outside
Colder temperatures may have you singing “Baby it’s cold Outside” while checking the thermometer. Don’t forget to check on elderly family and friends. It may save their life. Here are some things you can do to be of good cheer to the elderly.
1. Phone call – Make a call just to say hello. See if they will answer the phone when you call. No response may be a sign that something is wrong. Be proactive and get the name of a close family member so you can call them if you are concerned about the elder.
2. Home visit – Take a trip over to visit the elder. Knock on the door and see if they invite you in. They may enjoy the company if just for a little while. Take a look at the surroundings. Again, if there is no answer then there may be a problem.
3. Heat – Another benefit of going to the elder’s home is that you can assess the heat situation. It is expensive to keep a house heated. Many elders are on a fixed income so they may ration the heat to cut costs. They should be dressed in layers and don’t forget the socks/slippers. Make sure the indoor temp is 68-70F. Close any curtain/ blinds and unused room doors to keep the heat contained. Roll a towel and put in front of the doorways that have a draft of cold air.
4. Food – Take over some food. Everyone has to eat. Basic foods are never a bad idea. Things such as bread, crackers, peanut butter, applesauce and bottled water or some baked good make good gifts.
5. Falls – Seniors are at risk for falls. Snow and ice increase the fall risk. Encourage seniors to stay inside but if they must go out then they should wear boots with non-skid soles. Never let seniors shovel snow as this may increase their risk for falls or exacerbate other health problems.
The seniors in our community are our prized possessions. Make sure you check on them frequently. Here are some resources you may find helpful:
Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program
National Energy Assistance Referral Hotline (NEAR)
National Association of Area Agencies on Aging
Consumer Product Safety Commission