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A good program to help seniors

October 25, 2013
Lake Placid News

As a person ages, it gets tougher to do chores around the house that require physical labor. Many injuries occur to senior citizens who must shovel snow or do yard work such as raking leaves.

Therefore, it is a good thing that Mercy Care for the Adirondacks and Aging in Place task forces have partnered with local schools to include helping seniors with these chores as part of a community service program.

According to a national survey of snow-shoveling injuries, the activity places extraordinary demands on the cardiovascular system and can raise heart rates above recommended upper limits after only two minutes. In a addition, freezing temperatures also constrict peripheral blood vessels, further stressing the heart.

"Not only are seniors at risk of a heart attack while shoveling snow, but they can also suffer severe injuries or illness such as pneumonia from trying to do too much in the freezing cold weather. This is also a time when many seniors fall on ice or slippery porch steps or sidewalks and break their hip or other bones in their body," according to

The new program is organizing local students to help do chores for the elderly, and it is part of a wider effort to help each of the Tri-Lakes communities become more aging-friendly. The Lake Placid Central School District and Northwood School are making student volunteers available to help elders with outdoor chores or yard work.

So, if you are a senior citizen or have a loved one who needs assistance, you are encouraged to take part in this program. Not only will it possibly save a life, but will provide local kids a chance to learn first-hand about helping others while gaining community service requirements.

If you are an elder and need assistance with snow shoveling, raking leaves or other outdoor chores, contact one of the following: Patti McConvey at Lake Placid Central School by calling 518-523-2474 ext. 4130 or emailing or Katie Weaver at Northwood School by calling 518-523-3357 or emailing

The above community service program director in each of the aforementioned schools will matches the elder's need for assistance with a student.

This type of program to help seniors is taking place throughout the country, but here in the North Country where we get plenty of snow - and this winter is forecast to have lots of it - it's a program worth utilizing.

Mercy Care for the Adirondacks is a mission sponsored by the Sisters of Mercy to extend mercy to elders to enhance the fullness of their lives. Its work is carried out through a Friendship Volunteer Program, a Faith Community Nurse Program, and an Education and Advocacy Program. For more information on these other programs, visit



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