MyNBC5: Age Well Vermont offers advice on ways to help senior citizens during inclement weather

Colchester, VT (MyNBC5) – “With more snow on the way, getting prepared can also mean lending a helping hand to a friend or neighbor.

“In any weather event, especially like the one we saw with some wet, heavy snow, safety is the most important thing,” said Kristin Carlson with Green Mountain Power.

While GMP says its crews are still fixing power outages from the last winter storm, they’re ready for Wednesday evening’s storm.

“We’re going to have the crews still here, almost doubling our field force so that they’re ready to respond if there are any outages,” Carlson said.

Power outages and other winter weather challenges can be especially hard on senior neighbors, even if they’re fully independent.

But there are some easy ways to help older residents and make sure they stay safe during the worst weather conditions.

“Let them know that you are there as a resource for them,” said Diana French with Age Well Vermont.

Whether it’s shoveling a driveway, running errands, or dropping off meals, Age Well Vermont said there are plenty of things you can do to help.

“It can start with a friendly knock on the door, getting to know your neighbors, and being a tight-knit community,” said French.

French also advised residents to keep an eye out for any unusual activity or lack of normal activities during and after inclement weather. If your neighbor has a usual routine or activity and seems to have stopped doing it, you might want to check in with them.

“If we’re getting even an inch of snow or a drizzle of freezing rain, that can mean a real fall risk for our older Vermonters,” said French.

Getting to know your neighbor should include having a plan ready when it comes to winter storms.

“Being aware of if they have salt or if they have a plan in place of what’s gonna happen to safely be able to go about their day,” said French.

Age Well Vermont also provides access to Meals on Wheels, including daily safety checks, case management to create emergency backup plans, and a helpline for assistance.

But no matter where you are, if you’re ever worried about an emergency with your neighbor, French said it’s a good idea to call your local police department to request a welfare check, too.

Additional resources include:

  • The Vermont statewide Helpline is 1-800-642-5119 and operates between 8:30am- 4:30pm.
  • The Clinton County New York Office for the Aging can be reached at 518-565-4620.
  • The Essex County New York Office for the Aging can be reached at 518-873-3965.
  • The Franklin County New York Office for the Aging can be reached at 518-481-1526.

By: Sid Bewlay for MyNBC5

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