The weather is something that affects how we spend our days.
Each of the four seasons brings with it unique weather conditions, and it’s perhaps safe to say that winter can be the most difficult for many people.
Snow may be beautiful to look at, but it is a problem when it covers drives and pathways. It’s slippery underfoot and can lead to falls which cause injury – especially where the victim is an elderly citizen.
In areas of high snowfall, many elderly people may live alone or with a partner. Like the rest of us, they need to get out of the house for essential supplies or even to go to work.
This means clearing the snow from the driveway. Many a time, an elderly person has suffered a fall while doing this job, and the results can be disastrous.
We’ve put together a few helpful tips to make sure our elderly family members and friends get their driveways cleared without injury or too much difficulty, so here they are.
Invest in a Snowblower
Our first advice is this one: buy a snowblower. Shovels are all very well, but even for the youngsters shoveling snow is a long, arduous, and difficult job, especially when it’s cold and damp.
A snow blower is a powered device that uses either an electric or gas motor to power a mechanical shovel – or auger – which lifts great amounts of snow as it moves and throws it out of the way.
Now some of these machines can be heavy to use, and that’s not great for our older relatives. That’s why we recommend you read this great review of ideal snow blowers for use by the elderly at Traditional Gardening, which always carries excellent information. You’ll find the ideal model among those, so take a look now.
Wait Until Daylight
Snow often falls at night, but even for younger people, we would advise that you should wait until daylight to start clearing the snow. If that’s possible, it’s a certain way of ensuring you remain as safe as possible when on the snow.
It’s a difficult surface to walk on even on bright days, but in the dark, it can become much more dangerous, even if you carry a torch. Where at all possible, elderly people should certainly wait until it’s light.
Always Carry a Mobile Phone
We can’t stress how important it is that when you are out clearing the snow, you also carry with you a fully charged mobile cell phone.
This is important as if you do happen to fall and find you cannot get up; you at least have a phone you can use to call the emergency services, a neighbor, or a family member and let them know you need help. Snow is a very cold surface, and this is one safety precaution you cannot overlook.
If It’s Too Cold, Go Inside
We know how it is: you’re getting there, it’s freezing cold, and it’s beginning to get to you, but you are determined to carry on until the job is finished. Here’s our advice – don’t do it.
If you find the cold is affecting you adversely in any way – or if you simply start to find it is too cold for you – go inside straight away.
Cold is dangerous and can affect people very quickly, even those of us who are perfectly fit and healthy, and over-exposure to the cold can lead to major problems that might require hospitalization.
Clearing your driveway might be important, but you don’t need to do it right now; wait until the sun comes up, and the weather is bearable and put your health first.
Ask a Family Member or Neighbor
Our final piece of advice is a simple one: if you have a friendly neighbor, don’t feel afraid to ask them for help. Most places in the USA have a great sense of community spirit, and elderly residents are looked after.
The chances are your neighbor is looking out for you already, as they know you may be vulnerable in the colder weather. If you don’t know your neighbors or don’t have any, then be sure to ask someone in your family or circle of friends.
When people are in need – particularly the elderly folk – you’ll find others are more than happy to help, so let them do so!
The above is by no means a comprehensive list, but it is one that aims to advise on some simple things to think about when you are older and need to clear snow.
The main thing to remember is that snow, ice, and the cold can be lethal, and exposure to extreme cold can be very dangerous, so please take our advice, get a snowblower, and only start using it when the worst of the storm has passed.