EDITORIAL: Remembering the Elderly

Thom Meyers, 67, trudges with a cane through snow covered streets on January 4, in Atlantic City, New Jersey. (Mark Makela/Getty Images)

For children and young adults, a foot of snow is a reason for excitement and a source of old-fashioned fun. But for seniors and the disabled, sidewalks covered with snow and ice often translates into deep anxiety and real danger.

There is no doubt that there is something majestic and beautiful about a fresh snowfall. Yet for the elderly, it turns their homes into virtual prisons. Even those who are fully independent in better weather, realize that venturing out on their own — even to the shul down the block or grocery store at the corner – puts them at high risk for a devastating fall.

As our community grapples with the massive storm that brought considerable snowfall and bitter cold to the greater New York area, it is imperative that we remember our elderly neighbors. Let us make sure to ring that doorbell or call on the phone to check up on them, and offer our assistance. We need to assure our neighbors that helping with shopping or getting to a doctor is not an imposition on our part, but an honor and zechus. Let us not rely on this being done the seniors’ children who live across town — they may be unable to come — or on a neighbor who lives a door closer; that neighbor may be relying on you.

In addition, the importance of making sure that the sidewalks are properly shoveled can’t be overestimated. So many falls are avoided when we make sure to fulfill our obligations — and in some cases go far beyond the call of duty — when we also shovel the sidewalk of our neighbor who is out of town.

The freezing weather outside give us the perfect opportunity to touch the hearts of others. Let us make the most of it.