We owe a lot to our parents. They brought us into this world, kept us safe through our most vulnerable times, and didn’t kill us no matter how annoying we were.
Well, now your parents have grown old, and it’s time to repay the favor. The winter is a particularly precarious time for seniors, and there are plenty of ways we can make this difficult season safer and more pleasant for our parents. Of course, daily visits would be ideal, but here are several things you can do to keep your parents safe this winter, even if you don’t live around the corner, or even in the same city, state, or country.
1. Check in on them periodically
You might not live close enough to drop by every time they need a jar opened, but if possible, you should go visit mom and dad once in awhile.
Periodic visits will not only give you the opportunity to look around the house to see if there’s anything broken, missing, or in need of your assistance, but it will contribute to your parents’ overall morale. Since isolation and depression are significant factors in elderly patients’ overall health, showing them you care enough to make the trip will go a long way towards keeping parents stronger, happier, and healthier.
And when you can’t make the trip out to visit, at the very least, pick up the phone on a regular basis and check in on them this way. It will still give them the support, love, and attention that they need.
2. Make sure they’re fully stocked for a storm
You might not be able to be there 24/7, but making a trip over to their house before the winter sets in will allow you to keep them stocked with supplies in case a storm hits.
Here are some things to add to your parental care to-do list:
- Buy canned goods that are easy to open (pull tabs) and other non-perishables so your parents will have plenty to eat and can maintain healthy nutritious diets during the winter.
- Make sure there are several unopened bottles of water in case the water lines are interrupted during a storm.
- Replenish the batteries in all of their devices, and have several spare batteries on hand. A portable radio is a good tool to have on hand.
- Don’t forget their regular medications. Have extra meds on hand in case they can’t get out for a few days.
- Check that there are functioning fire extinguishers heaters, flashlights, and other such tools in the home.
- Be sure that your parent has enough scarves, mittens, hats, sweaters, socks, and layers to keep them warm this winter. Hypothermia and frostbite settle in fast if seniors aren’t properly clothed in the cold. Go through their wardrobe, and top it off so they are ready for the coming season. This applies to bedding such as warm sheets and blankets, as well.
3. Keep emergency numbers close by
When there’s an emergency, make sure someone is there to help right away. Keep a list of emergency numbers in several places that are easy to access for your elderly parent. This includes:
- Ambulance services
- Senior care facilities and neighborhood organizations
- Neighbors and friends who can come over at a moment’s notice
4. Add lighting
Since winter days are shorter and nights longer, vision is more limited during the cold months. Consider installing a large flood light to the exterior of the house, or perhaps a timer system that turns the lights on automatically when the sun goes down.
Check interior lighting to make sure the inside of the house is sufficiently lit as well. Since people will be spending more time inside, having a good reading lamp will also contribute to your parents’ overall wellbeing.
Elderly parents today are stronger, smarter, and more connected than in previous generations, making it easier for them to live on their own. With a little help from loving kids like you, seniors can be empowered, safe, and happy no matter where they are living. Give your parents the gift of healthy independent living. You know, the same gift they gave you so many years ago.