A hurricane in November followed quickly by massive snowstorms in the upper Midwest. The frequency of “100 year” weather events now are monthly occurrences. Blizzards are encasing homes in feet of snow trapping residents for days or weeks. Winter cold is as dangerous as summer heat for vulnerable people.
Home Safe Home
Winter weather brings on new challenges to keep warm at home and moving about in the community. Cars needs to properly weatherize in snowy areas. Dwellings require weatherization to stave off the brutally strong winds and precipitation. Furnaces need to be checked for adequate heating energy and safety after remaining dormant during the warmer months. Here are our recommendations during these trying times.
- Check all the windows for air leaks and condensation. The hardware stores carry low-cost solutions to these problems and government funded weatherization program.
- Contact your local Area Agency on Aging for an assessment for Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program.
- Store a closed container of sidewalk salt for easy accessibility. Outside stairs and porches are hazardous with just a tiny bit of invisible ice.
- Test the outdoor lighting to ensure they are working and directed correctly. Winter daylight is short.
- Place a warm blanket in the car. Better to safe than sorry. Keep a blanket just in case of an emergency where you are stuck in the car.
Self-Care Combats Social Isolation
These weather events increase the impact of social isolation. Prepare for long periods indoors as the cycle of storms are upon us. Here are our recommendations for self-care:
- Reach out to family and friends who can give you encouraging feedback and provide you an honest, fresh perspective. Even though you may feel like withdrawing, calling a friend or getting out to socialize can boost your mood and outlook.
- Engage in activities that you enjoy and make you feel good. A healthy mind also means a healthy body, make choices that take care of both. Remember that people around you want to help.
- Switch out the closest. Place all the warm winter clothes front and center for easy access. Make sure that coats, gloves, boots, hats, and other accessories can’t be forgotten before stepping out into the cold.
- Create an emergency kit that includes personal care and medication.
- Set goals for each day. Start small. For instance, get out of bed by a certain time, or plan a household chore… or even call a friend. Celebrate your successes!