A major snowstorm is headed for the Northeast. It’s important for families and neighborhoods to keep an eye on the elderly during these times.
Seniors are always at risk during severe weather, and that is what is on the way for most of the Northeast. The National Weather Service issues a stern warning to the public at 3pm Friday:
…MAJOR WINTER STORM BEGINNING TO UNFOLD ACROSS THE NORTHEASTERN U.S. WITH BLIZZARD CONDITIONS FORECAST FOR TONIGHT INTO EARLY
WINTER STORM WARNINGS AND WINTER WEATHER ADVISORIES ARE IN EFFECT
FOR MUCH OF THE NORTHEAST FROM PENNSYLVANIA NORTHWARD INTO MAINE.
Safety Steps for Snowy Weather
We recently blogged about the dangers of cold weather for seniors, but a blizzard is much more than cold and requires unique preparation. In advance of this blizzard, or any other, there are several steps we can make sure that our older loved ones who live alone make it through without any problems:
- Make sure that there is enough food to last several days. Transportation, which already very difficult for many elders, can become next to impossible after a heavy snow. They may be housebound for several days.
- If your older loved one drives, ask them to refrain during the snow. Driving on very icy or snowy roads is hazardous for people of all age, but for elderly people who tend to have somewhat compromised driving abilities, it can be especially dangerous. Furthermore, it can be a very serious situation when a seniors becomes stranded on a snowy road, especially in remote areas or an areas without cellular service. The last thing that an 85 year-old person with health problems needs is to have spend the night in a car in freezing temperatures.
- Be prepared for a power outage. Snow and ice storms can cause tress to topple and power-lines to break, cutting off power to wide areas. See to it that your loved one has battery powered flashlight and lanterns so that he or she can at least navigate the house without tripping and falling if the lights do go out. If your loved one has electric heat, know that a power outage can be especially dangerous. Hypothermia can strike even in the home, and some people forget that burning charcoal stoves or barbecues inside is not a safe way to keep warm, but instead a surefire way to die of carbon monoxide poisoning. Offer to to house your loved one in your own home or arrange a hotel stay if your older loved one’s home does lose power for an extended period
- There’s going to a be a lot of snow. Don’t make your older loved one shove it themselves. Do it yourself or hire someone to do it for your loved one. Yes, exercise is good for seniors, but shoveling snow causes heart attacks. Your older loved one could also fall in the slippery conditions while outdoors.