Caring for the Elderly in Frigid Conditions

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If you stepped outside Wednesday, it probably didn't take long to feel that cold wind, and that wind chill is expected to keep dropping. Therefore, it may be a good time to check on the elderly.

"We were both fortunate to grow up and remember our grandparents and spend a lot of time with them," Don Caltrider said.

Don and Kay Caltrider have always had close relationships with their families. So as their grandparents and even parents got older, the roles in the family reversed.

"They took care of me, and I was an only child, so therefore I was the only one to do it, so I felt very responsible for it," Kay said.

A responsibility to check on their elderly, especially when the temperatures drop.

"Paying attention to the windchill is another factor that's important for the elderly, because that does impact them. They're just more frail and usually don't have as much body fat," Gwynn Clifford, communications director at Buckeye Hills Area Agency on Aging, said.

Clifford also says the elderly should be checked on daily to make sure their heat is set between 68 and 70 degrees, make sure they have a good supply of food and if they must go outdoors, the path to their vehicles isn't too slippery. Also, be sure they're bundled up in layers.

This is all something the Caltriders say their grandchildren will do for them someday.

"I think they will. They tell us they will," Kay said.

"The seven year old, he tells us when he's old enough to drive, he's gonna drive us around," Don said.

Officials at the Agency on Aging also say folks should look after the elderly year-round, but during the winter it's good to make a daily visit or phone call.

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