With winter just around the corner, it's time to prepare for the cold to come! For seniors, winter can be an especially challenging time of the year. Thankfully, there's still time to prepare and plan ahead while the weather is more manageable. After you utilize these tips, we’ll have you as cozy and snuggly as a Frank Sinatra Christmas album!
Snowed in and stocked up
Why not stock up on some basic essentials? Just in case there's one too many snowy days, it never hurts to have some preparations ready. Non-perishable foods like peanut butter, crackers, dried fruit, and canned goods are important to have. Also, you’ll want to have things like bottled water and flashlights stored at home. Don’t forget flashlight batteries, or that flashlight will be about as much use to you as a glass hammer! Check on your firewood stash, and if needed, order more now to beat the rush. Pull out the battery-powered radio in case of emergencies and make sure you’ve got all your warm layers dug out of the closet.
Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow! (If you’re prepared for it, that is!)
Have you thought about who will attend to the outside of your home if a lot of snow falls? Plan now if you’d like to have someone else take care of it. Go ahead and get in touch with the relative, friend, or whoever will be helping you to make sure everything is on track. Do not attempt to shovel snow etc unless you are in great health and well-prepared. Even if you plan to only go outside a little bit, be sure you have shoes with good traction and no-skid soles. A small fall on the icy pavement could cause major injuries and a long recovery for seniors.
As the saying goes, prevention is the best cure! Avoid problems later by preparing your home and car now. If you’re planning to use a gas fireplace, heater, or lanterns, it’s important to have a working carbon monoxide detector. Carbon monoxide is odorless and a leak can be deadly, so it’s important to have a detector. Now is also the right time to check on your car before winter hits. Spare no expense when it comes to your safety- go ahead and have your car fully serviced to ensure the oil, tires, battery, and wipers are in tip-top shape. Do you have an ice scraper stored in the car for your windshield? You won’t be going anywhere if you can’t see! If you have an AAA membership, make sure you have your membership up-to-date and a card in your wallet or vehicle. If you plan to drive but don’t have a mobile phone, you can purchase an inexpensive prepaid phone to keep in the car. Seniors do experience slower reflexes, so if you’re at all unsure about driving safely this winter, don’t be shy to say no and instead ask others for help.
No driving like Dracula!
Putting all joking aside, very tragically, children are more likely to be fatally injured by a car on Halloween than any other day of the year. Although this is mainly connected to teenage drivers, it is, nonetheless, crucial to be alert and safe when driving this spooky night. Drive extra slow through neighborhoods and anywhere kiddos might be out and about, using extra caution in general. Stay alert as you watch other drivers, and if you notice any wild and reckless driving, don’t hesitate to contact the police. If you're out walking, carry a flashlight and shine it towards any oncoming cars.
Keeping treats sweet and simple
Unfortunately these days, with so many crazy incidents in the news, most parents (understandably) feel that homemade treats just can’t be trusted. So if you want to please the crowd, it’s best to stick to individually wrapped candies, so parents can have confidence that no one has touched it except the manufacturer. Wondering what to give out? It’s hard to go wrong with chocolate! Other favorites are Skittles, Starbursts, Sour Patch Kids, or lollipops, but you can also get creative…
Little treasures for the tots with allergies
Perhaps you have a grandchild with allergies or just want to get a little creative for your trick-or-treaters. The latest trend is to get some non-food treats and put a teal-blue pumpkin in front of your home. The pumpkin can be either painted teal-blue or you can buy an artificial one. (Sure, times have changed, but pumpkins are indeed still orange)! The teal-blue pumpkin lets families know that you have allergy-friendly options available for treats. An additional sign noting you have toy treats might also be helpful. Simple and inexpensive toys are wonderful. Things like bouncy balls, glow sticks, bubbles, slinkies, or any other little toys you can find at the Dollar Tree or a party supply store. Don’t feel pressured to try this-- the good, old-fashioned way of giving candy is still a delight for most! But if you’re wanting to brighten things up for a child with allergies, or perhaps just want a healthier option, toy treats can be all treat and no trick for any child!
Signaling trick-or-treaters, whether to come or go!
Contrary to popular belief amongst children, there is not an endless supply of candy behind every door! If you’re ready to hit the hay or perhaps don’t want to give out anything at all on Halloween evening, you can signal this with a simple tip. Turn out as many lights as possible, and in particular, avoid having any outdoor lighting on. Inevitably, a few eager beavers will still come knocking. There’s no need to answer the door and explain-- they’ll get the hint to move on when no one answers. On the other hand, if you want as many visitors as possible, signal them over with lots of bright lights inside and outside your home. Decoration is also very welcoming. But don’t feel bad setting a cut-off time for answering the door. Kids will still come in the dark, but by about 8:30, most folks will probably be done, so you can set a cut-off time between 8:30pm and 9pm, or 9:30 at the latest.
Particularly as it gets later, sometimes rowdy teenagers (or even older young people!) can come knocking, and although it’s unlikely, occasionally they are up to no good and looking for trouble. Stay safe by taking a peek out the window before answering the door; if they look older or are acting at all unusual, don’t answer. Mostly, troublemakers come out later in the evening when it’s more isolated, perhaps from about 9pm (and certainly 10pm) and onwards, so turn your lights out and stop answering the door as it gets later.
Hopefully the scariest thing you'll encounter all Halloween evening is a mini-monster toddler (or worse, your neighbor dressed as Madonna). With these simple tips, you’ll have more time to enjoy the night and maybe even do the “Monster Mash” dance! Stay safe, and have a very happy Halloween!
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