The High Country is filled with Good Samaritans, and most of us have our own story or two to tell about someone we know going above and beyond when it comes to making our community a better place to live.

This week, we all get a chance to be part of that story.

With an Arctic-like blast of frigid air descending on Watauga and surrounding counties mid-week, temperatures are expected to feel as low as 10 degrees below zero, and even colder along higher elevations of the Blue Ridge.

Such temperature extremes can be dangerous for any of us, but they are especially threatening for seniors. Not only does a single-digit thermometer mean slippery sidewalks outside, but they also pose a concern for the elderly who don’t venture outdoors.

Older adults can lose body heat faster than when they were younger, and sometimes changes in the body from aging or taking certain prescriptions such as thyroid medications make it more difficult for the elderly to detect just how cold they are getting. A drastic freeze, such as the one we’re experiencing this week, can quickly create an emergency situation for an older person — and before that person even knows it is happening. We call this emergency hypothermia.

One way to assist our elderly population is by being a good neighbor. If you know of an older person living next to you, don’t hesitate to check on them, and especially so during a cold snap. A quick visit could be not only a lifesaver for them, but a boost for yourself as a reminder of one more reason why we call the High Country our home.

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