Elder checks, puzzles and the pandemic

“Baby, it’s cold outside.” This song keeps going through my head as I ask Alexa for the temperature every morning as I roll out of bed and get ready for the day.

With these freezing temperatures, many seniors on fixed incomes have turned down their thermostats in hopes of reducing their heating bills. It has been reported that bills could triple this winter with rising costs for heating services.

If you have an elderly neighbor or family, can you take five minutes a day to see them visually to see how they are doing? Are they dressed warmly? Do they have food? Are they okay?

I’ve always been one to overdress in cold weather and I still do. CuddlDuds is my best friend during the winter. I also have several zipped sweatshirts to wear over a blouse or sweater if I’m cold.

I am one of the lucky ones. I have a son and a neighbor who text me early every morning to ask if I’m okay or if I need help. My neighbor waits for the lights to come on in the kitchen, then texts or calls.

I, in turn, have a classmate who is disabled and lives alone whom I call every day. She’s not an early riser so it’s mid-morning before we make contact. She also now has a life alert in case of a fall or other need.

While watching your elderly friends/relatives, check for smoke alarms and make sure they are in good working order. Also assess an emergency exit in case of fire.

My favorite winter hobby is doing puzzles. I love the challenge and I love watching the different pieces form a beautiful picture when completed. My current puzzle on the card table is a Thomas Kinkade “A Victorian Christmas”. Kinkade puzzles are always difficult as the colors are mixed throughout the puzzle, but I will persevere to complete it.

Here we are again – a growing number of COVID cases plaguing the country. Will this ever end? Are you and your family taking precautions to stay as healthy as possible? Have you all been vaccinated? If not, can I encourage you to do it quickly? Expert reports claim that vaccinated people experience milder cases if they catch the virus and are rarely hospitalized.

The only place I physically go is to church, and I wear my mask like I have for two years now and distance myself from others. I order groceries online and get curbside pickup. I sanitize my counters and doorknobs even if I’m the only one using them – just in case.

Let me leave you with this quote from John Steinbeck: “A sad soul can be as deadly as a germ.

Until next week. Stay healthy, watch your mental health as well as your physical health, eat well and watch the elderly. Be a good neighbor.

Brenda Donegan is a former staff member of Marion Star. She can be contacted at brendadonegan55@gmail.com.

This article originally appeared on Marion Star: Just Musing: Elder Checks, jigsaw puzzles and COVID