“We will typically get the name and phone number of neighbors and call them to see if they mind being put on as contacts for a subscriber,” Stiegman said. “Usually, people will say it’s not a problem (to be a contact for a senior in the neighborhood).”
The Lifeline system has a $40 one-time installation fee. The monthly fee for the service is $36 for one button and $46 for two buttons. For more information, call 1 (800) 610-6247.
Other measures can benefit seniors living at home as well.
“One of the things we like to stress during the winter is to have an alternative heating source,” said Martha Gulley, a case manager for the Clinton County Office for the Aging. “A lot of people don’t know what to do if their power goes out. The best thing for them is to have an alternative place to go and stay warm if that happens.”
People with wood stoves need to take special care to manage their stoves safely during blackouts, she added, but the Office for the Aging recommends not using propane heaters or generators that could increase carbon-monoxide levels in the home.
“Another thing to have handy at all times is a flashlight or a battery-operated lantern,” Gulley said. “When the lights go out is not the time to be searching for a light source.”
She also suggests having a supply of nutritious foods that do not need to be cooked available during emergencies. Meals on Wheels always provides an extra meal for its clients to get them through storms when the service might be closed for a day, but alternative meals could be advantageous as well, she said.
Peanut butter and jelly is an ideal option for nutritious and easy-to-prepare foods, she added.
When seniors do make their way outdoors, they have to take extra precautions when conditions are icy or snowy.