January 21, 2014

Less than three weeks after Winter Storm Hercules hit New York City, the city was again blanketed with nearly a foot of snow. Citymeals volunteers recently finished delivering packages of three shelf-stable meals, ensuring meal recipients would be nourished during the Martin Luther King, Jr. Day holiday weekend. As a precaution, meal centers also delivered extra meals today in case regular deliveries will be delayed tomorrow.

Citymeals will continue to prepare homebound elderly New Yorkers for the next weather emergency as more snow and freezing temperatures are expected in the upcoming weeks. It takes just moments to check on your frail aged neighbors, many of whom are not mobile or healthy enough to take the proper precautions for severe winter weather.

Citymeals recommends:

• Check to make sure your older neighbors have food essentials on hand, including milk, bread, soup and a source of protein.
• Make sure their heat is on.
• If they use any space heaters, make sure there are no potential fire hazards, such as blankets, curtains or upholstered furniture, in close proximity.
• Ask if there is sufficient hot water for bathing.
• Make certain they have blankets to keep warm at night.

In addition, two of the most common cold weather illnesses are hypothermia and frostbite. Familiarize yourself with their symptoms:

Hypothermia: Symptoms include slurred speech, sluggishness, confusion, dizziness, shallow breathing, unusual behavior, and slow, irregular heartbeat.

Frostbite: Symptoms include gray, white or yellow skin discoloration, numbness, and waxy feeling skin.

If an elderly person exhibits these symptoms, or if confusion sets in, experts advise calling 911 for help immediately. For more information about winter weather precautions for the elderly, visit the New York City Office of Emergency Management website.