This winter will be like no other. With Covid-19 lurking, older adults living alone will have to adapt and prepare to ensure all their needs are met, as many of their traditional sources of support get interrupted.
From food to medications, medical care to safety and socialization to exercise, seniors will have to prepare for a winter where they will be living on their own more than ever.
1. COVID-19 WINTER SAFETY PROTOCOLS
Despite the frigid temperatures, avoid indoor gatherings in your home or someone else's, where masks when going to another indoor location outside your home, wash your hands frequently.
2. GET THE FLU VACCINE
Regardless of Covid-19, older adults should get the flu vaccine every year. The last place you want to end up now is sick from the flu, exposing yourself to a possible bout of pneumonia, if hospitals get overwhelmed with Covid-19 cases come winter time.
3. PREPARE FOR DELIVERY
There will be days when it's too icy, snowy or cold to leave your home or apartment. Get ready. Find a source for delivery of your groceries, medications and household items - it could be your supermarket, pharmacy, local senior center, church or meals-on-wheels.
4. TRY TELE-HEALTH
Telehealth has seen a massive boon since Covid-19. Why? Because it works. In a world where it may may not be safe for your daughter, a cab or an Uber to take you to the doctor's office, video consults are proving just as beneficial in many instances.
5. PREPARE FOR POWER OUTAGES
Winter is no time to be unprepared for a power outage. Make sure you have flashlights that are easily accessible, canned food that can be eaten uncooked (can of tune, sardines, fruit, chocolate bars, etc...), and some extra warm blankets.
6. PREPARE FOR ACCIDENTS
With fewer people dropping in to check-up on you, and doing more things on your own, get a mobile medical alert system with fall detection or an apple watch with fall detection, so you can get access to emergency help quickly and easily, if you need.
Perhaps add a lock box outside your home to provide easy access to family members and emergency responders, if they need to come inside your home and you're unable to open the front door.
7. STAY WARM
If you're going to venture outside, make sure you have a warm coat, gloves, boots and hat. You may also want to find options that will allow you to cover your face over your mask, like a scarf or balaclava.
8. AVOID FALLS
Slipping on ice or hard packed snow is one of the risks of winter. Aside from ensuring your walkway is shoveled, sanded or salted, you may also want to invest in crampons to give you extra grip and avoid slipping on an icy sidewalk or stairs.
9. WINTER TIRES
If you're going to drive and you're in a snowy region, consider investing in winter tires. While you might want to stay home before the streets have had a chance to be plowed and salted, sometimes, ice and snow can't be avoided. Winter tires can make all the difference.