Winter tips and resources for seniors

Blizzard Bag contents

In Minnesota, the winter weather can be harsh and unpredictable. We’d like to provide a few tips and resources for getting through the coldest, snowiest winter months.

Stock Your Pantry

It’s a good idea to keep shelf-stable food on hand in case you’re not able to get out for groceries as a result of severe weather events.

Meals on Wheels delivers Blizzard Bags (pictured above) at the start of each winter to meal recipients. These bags contain “low-cook, no-cook” foods and snacks that are easy to prepare, in case regular meal delivery is interrupted by dangerous weather conditions.

Keep Walkways Clear

Remember to keep your sidewalks clear of snow and ice. Sidewalks and curb ramps are lifelines for many seniors and people with disabilities. When not cleared, it can limit their ability to get groceries, get prescriptions, go to work, and attend local gatherings.

If you can, help out your neighbors who might have difficulties clearing their own sidewalks. Seniors can contact the Minnesota Senior LinkAge Line at 1-800-333-2433 to request a referral for snow removal services!

Check on Vulnerable Neighbors

Please consider checking in with your neighbors during inclement weather. Those with mobility issues may experience compounded difficulties getting the things they need.

Receiving meals is a great option for those experiencing mobility issues, especially during the winter. If you or a loved one could benefit from receiving fresh, home-delivered meals and friendly check-ins, please contact us at 612-623-3363 or sign up online to receive meals.

Resources for Staying Warm

The Energy Assistance Program

The Energy Assistance Program (EAP) helps pay home heating costs and furnace repairs for income-qualified households. This program is federally funded and does not have to be paid back as it is offered as a grant. Grants are available for both renters and homeowners, and are based on household size, income, and utility costs. Local Energy Assistance Partners can help with applications.

Cold Weather Rule

Minnesota’s Cold Weather Rule (CWR) is a state law that protects residential utility customers from having electric or natural gas service shut off between October 1 and April 30. It requires making a payment plan with your Electric or Natural Gas utility company to receive CWR protection. 

Low Income Weatherization Assistance Program

This program is supported by Minnesota Energy Resources which provide funds for Community Action Program (CAP) agencies. There is no cost for customers. If your household qualifies, a local weatherization service provider may conduct a free home assessment to identify cost-effective improvement opportunities to make your home more energy efficient. In order to be eligible for this program you must meet state and federal guidelines. To find out if you qualify, contact the Community Action Program in your area