Keep in contact

Being housebound can be extremely lonely, so if your loved one is just around the corner make sure you pop in on a regular basis. If you're out of town give them a quick call via phone or Skype to let them know you're thinking of them. You could even try making a regular time and day to check in so they have something to look forward to.

Get ready for an emergency

Any extreme weather can leave seniors in a seriously vulnerable position. Make sure they have emergency resources at hand in their homes. This should include batteries, flashlights, candles, blankets, water, plenty of non-perishable foods, and most importantly, a week's supply of any medication they are taking.

Check the temperature at home

Drafts can sneak in and make a home feel very chilly. Check that the senior's home is properly insulated, especially around the windows, and that the heating is working properly. If you feel your loved one is worried about hefty heating bills, see if you, or any other family member, can chip in so they aren't stressed about warming their home.

Prevent accidents

The elderly are prone to accidents in the home, especially during winter. Invest in a pair of warm slippers with a good grip to stop them slipping at home. If you're not nearby, see if there are any neighbors or volunteers who could help shovel snow and keep their pathways and sidewalks slip-free.

Keep them busy

If it's too cold to step out, try and encourage your loved one to get reading a book you can both chat about (even on the phone) or to watch some movies or TV series. There are senior centers that offer a library delivery service, and your local church might have a program to visit the housebound. You could also look online to see if there's something your loved one can do from the comfort of their own home.

Teach them to shop online

It's vital for the elderly to keep well-fed and to have plenty of fluids in the cold winter months. But stepping out in the bitter weather can be really hard on seniors, especially the more vulnerable. So take the time to teach your elderly loved ones how to shop online, or get a list of their regular products so you can shop on their behalf.

Keep them cozy

With age people feel the cold a lot more. If you can, make sure the seniors in your lives have plenty of thermals to keep them snug, or lots of loose layers. You could also invest in an electric blanket for chilly nights and cozy blankets to keep them warm throughout the day. If they do venture out, remind them to wear a warm hat and waterproof gloves.

Ensure they eat the right diet

Being less active and stuck indoors can leave the elderly prone to colds and infections. Where possible, try to make sure they have plenty of vitamin-rich foods at hand. To be ultra-prepared, make some homemade soups and stock them in your loved one's freezer.

Maintain their car

If the seniors you know are still driving, make sure their cars are road-worthy and full of essentials such as blankets, snacks, flares, water, and a phone charger, in case of a breakdown. If they do venture out, encourage them to let you know of their travel plans.

Say a little prayer

Ask for the intercession of the patron saint of the elderly, St. Anthony of Padua. More commonly known for aiding those with lost items, the popular saint is a powerful intercessor for the elderly, too.