Leelanau Co. Icy Roads, Snow Increase Risks For Senior Citizens

These conditions are always dangerous to drivers, including senior citizens.

As the snow builds up, so does the opportunity for disaster.

“This is not the time of year we need to be adventuresome,” says Cathy Hartesvelt, finance coordinator for Leelanau County Senior Services. “This is the time of year to stay home.”

It doesn’t take much for snow to take even the best driver and put them in the ditch.

Leelanau County Senior Services fears it could be worse for seniors.

“We have senior citizens that stay here through the winter,” Hartesvelt says. “Many snow bird away but those that are here still would like to make their appointments.”

They have two volunteers brave the conditions to get them around.

“Our volunteers do have personal relationships with some of our seniors, which is very nice because that gives them a comfort level, they are seeing a familiar face, someone they know and trust,” Hartesvelt says.

On top of that, contracts with BATA, Comfort Keepers and Munson provide other ways to get through the elements.

“Seniors can call BATA to arrange door-to-destination transportation and that would also include taking them shopping.”

The conditions up here on the roads are bad, but Carly Campbell at North Country in Suttons Bay says another concern are steps.

She says they present more problems.

“A guy that comes here, his mom is 98 and she is active but one fall and I think it would be bad news,” Campbell says.

Carly says those are more reasons to keep a watchful eye out for some of our elderly community members in the most dangerous situations.

“I just always wonder what were they doing because I’ve lived up here forever so I know, like, don’t go fast, have your lights on, keep a distance,” Campbell says.

“I think it’s a good community effort that if you know senior that’s home-bound and the weather is this bad, it might not hurt just to call and say how are you doing. Do you need something?” Hartesvelt says.