I think most of us have, at one time or another, dealt with the headache of snow removal from our walkways and driveways (or at the very least, around our cars). Snow removal is not for the faint of heart or those who have heart problems, especially when temperatures become frigid. During the latest big snow storm and negative temperatures and wind chills, I saw several of our neighbors (including my spouse) working together to remove snow from sidewalks, and even a portion of the street!
While our block has mainly young couples and those in our 40s/50s, that’s not the case in many areas throughout the County. There are many neighborhoods, where residents may not be physically able to shovel the snow off the sidewalks. Exposure to the cold puts additional strain on the heart and seniors and those with chronic medical conditions are at an increased risk.
Seniors may also be unable to afford to have a service do it for them. If you’re able, please consider offering your elderly or disabled neighbor help with snow removal, especially if you’ve noticed that it doesn’t get done within 24 hours of the end of a storm. This is especially important since many cities and towns, including Ann Arbor, Chelsea, Dexter, Manchester, Saline, and Ypsilanti have snow removal ordinances which will penalize homeowners with fines.
Snow removal also helps the volunteers at Meals on Wheels deliver food to frail, homebound persons in our communities. At Ann Arbor Meals on Wheels, several customers often call to cancel meal delivery following a winter storm because they’re unable to remove the snow and are concerned for the safety of our volunteers. Helping your neighbors by removing snow from their driveways and walkways can mean the difference in whether they eat that day.
Why is this so critical? The inability to continue with typical maintenance, heavy chores, and yard work are often what lead an older homeowner to consider moving. At the Housing Bureau for Seniors, we can recommend our HomeShare and our Housing & Caregiver Counseling programs for those looking to transition from one living situation to another. But if affordable assistance can be brought in, why move?
Be neighborly! Check on your elderly and disabled neighbors, and if you can help in some small way, please do so.