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Grane Hospice Care Blog

Cold Weather Tips for Seniors and Disabled

Winter storms with high winds, freezing rain, significant snowfall, and/or dangerously cold temperatures can last for many days. The elderly and disabled often need assistance to prepare for a storm and need to be checked during that time as well. There are many things we can do to assist them during this period:

  • Stay up-to-date on weather reports.

 

  • Be sure a family member, friend, or neighbor is going to check on elderly and disabled persons as you may not be able to do that yourself.

 

  • Encourage them to have at least a 3-day supply of food and water in their home. Include foods that do not need cooked should the electric go out.

 

  • Ensure they have enough medications to get them through at least 7 days.

 

  • A fully-charged cell phone is advisable as land-lines may be down interrupting service.

 

  • Be sure that there is an Emergency Contact list and that they are reminded that they can use 911 as a contact for any needs.

 

  • Discourage use of electric blankets as they can cause burns if left on while sleeping. Instead add extra blankets.

 

  • Dress in layers to keep warm.

 

  • Be sure fireplaces, wood and pellet stoves, and space heaters are working properly and vented. Ensure they do not present a fire hazard.  Ensure electric heaters are not plugged into extension cords.

 

  • Discourage the use of gas stoves from being used for heating.

 

  • Check smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. Be sure vents to outside are not covered by snow or debris.

 

  • Encourage elderly and disabled not to go outdoors to shovel snow or clear sidewalks as this could cause significant risk for heart attack as well as falls with major injury.

 

  • If possible hire someone to keep walkways clear and bring in paper or mail.

 

  • Stay in touch. Call just to chat for a few minutes.  Winter storms can be very isolating for our seniors.
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