Seniors can be very susceptible to changes of temperature. When it drops or soars, concern radiates out into the community about the aged population and if they are, in fact, safe. Most of the time, the problem is poverty and people just can’t afford their electrical bills, so they don’t even turn their systems on. Sometimes they forget or are impervious to their own needs.

Keeping warm or cool, depending on the time of year, is important for seniors, and everyone. Advance preparation is all that is needed. Most people have an AC system and they can readily have it checked once a year. Don’t ever assume it is in good working order. You can also buy a backup generator for emergencies and practice using it so you are as ready as a Boy Scout on the fatal day.

It is also wise to stock extra blankets, enough for the whole family should the power go out and the generator doesn’t work or is overtaxed. Or, why put it to chance and instead install something that you will always be able to rely on, a high quality wood stove. Of course this means you’ll need to have firewood in your home and your garden shed, because it is a scary thought to have no reserves in storage in case it gets really cold one night after the stores have closed. It reminds me of an Old Bette Davis movie from the 1950’s. She was a school teacher in a rural village and the school house was a mile away from the town. One day, a sudden and treacherous storm hit. The snow fell in droves and was higher than the schoolhouse windows. The children and their teacher were marooned. As they became colder and colder, Bette became more and more frantic. They finally started burning books, then chairs, then school desks till nothing was left. As they started to literally freeze to death, she decided the only hope was to brave the cold and lead the children through the white out blizzard to safety. Of course, she prevailed. This was senior ingenuity at its very best!

Another storm story with a senior is a film that takes place in rural Minnesota: a real cold spot if ever there was one! A man and his grandson were taking their family cow out to pasture when a sudden storm hit. The snow was wild and the winds were worse. There were white banks of it everywhere the eye could see, and it couldn’t see much else. They were caught in a weather trap of the very worst kind. They were entirely lost and could barely see one another, not to mention the cow. As the temperature dropped and the boy started to freeze to death, the father became panicky. He thought long and hard, and made his move. He cut open the cow the length of the critter’s body, and placed the small son within. The warm blood revived the boy and he survived long enough for the weather to clear and the pair could find their way home. Senior ingenuity at its best.

These were powerful movies about weather catastrophe and a lesson to us all, especially seniors, to avoid such dire conditions that could threaten their survival. If they do not feel safe, consult with a senior center to have an evaluation done of the home to see if everything possible has been done for the vast ranges of temperature that can threaten well-being.