Winter is a difficult time for the most vulnerable sectors of society. Those who are ill, living with disabilities, living in poverty, and the elderly face challenges associated with the extreme cold and snow.
The winter months can be lonely for those who are isolated, too, which is why it is important to make sure elderly neighbors are staying warm during the season. Here are some ways you can help them survive the ice and snow!
Snow removal is a life-or-death issue for many seniors. There are thousands of falls during the winter months, and for elderly individuals who live alone, a fall can be fatal.
A simple but good deed you can do for your neighbors is to take a battery-powered snow blower or a shovel to create a dry path from their front door to the street. You can also shovel their sidewalk or driveway if you see they have a disability that prevents them from doing it themselves.
The elderly, specifically, may find this task overwhelming. They may hurt their back or have trouble removing heavy snow from the road.
Doing this for them would reduce the risk of accidents or injuries, and it will help them feel safer.
Senior Transportation Services
If your neighbor is unable to drive due to illness or injury, then chances are they don’t get out much in the cold weather. Seniors may feel uncomfortable about asking for rides, but you can be a friend and take them places.
You may want to volunteer for a senior transportation service that offers free or inexpensive rides to doctor’s appointments and errands. You could also organize friends and neighbors into carpools to transport your elderly friend around town.
Emergency Preparedness Kit Maintenance
Be proactive with emergency preparedness kit maintenance. In the winter, it can be difficult to keep an emergency kit well-stocked because of inclement weather and harsh conditions.
If your elderly neighbor has a kit, take a walk around their home — if you see something they are running low on or need to replace it is a good time to lend a helping hand.
This is especially crucial before a snowstorm which could trap yourself and your neighbors indoors for a few days. Check batteries, flashlights, water filters, medications, and pet food before the weather turns.
If your elderly neighbor doesn’t have an emergency kit already you can help them put one together. Go over their home with them to find out what they may need if there are bad storms or blizzards that keep them indoors for days. It will make it easier if they can find things when needed.
Share Holiday Celebrations
The holidays are especially difficult for seniors who don’t have family or friends to celebrate with. You can be their friend and host a holiday party, potluck, or gift exchange to help them get into the spirit of the season. You can also invite them over for dinner, or share your food with them, so they don’t have to cook on their own.
But even going over to their house on Christmas morning, for example, to wish them a happy holiday season will be appreciated. They may not have family or friends to celebrate with, but just spending the day with them will make their holiday season feel a little more festive.
There are also community organizations that offer social activities for seniors during this time of year, such as hot meals or festive holiday parties. These events may benefit your friend more than you know!
Lending a Hand
Even if your elderly neighbors seem to be doing well during the winter months, you should consider lending them a hand if they are isolated or have disabilities. You can ask them directly what they need and spend time talking to them. Even if they are too shy to ask you to do anything for them, they would appreciate that you are concerned for their well-being.
If you have a neighbor in your community who is elderly and isolated, look into how you can help them this winter. Be a friend and check in with them frequently to reduce their risk of injury or illness. You may make their life feel full again by giving them company during the coldest months of the year.
Winter is the perfect time to create a positive relationship with your neighbors and build a community that helps one another. There are so many small things that you can do for the people you live next to which can positively affect their and your life.