A cold front has brought sharply colder weather to Missouri, and a University of Missouri Professor says it’s a good time to be thinking about older Missourians.

Larry Ganong is a Professor and Co-Chair of Human Development and Family Studies at the University of Missouri and a Professor in the Sinclair School of Nursing. He says with the coldest weather of the season so far setting in, older friends, neighbors and loved ones might benefit from someone checking on them.

“There is just a lot of issues that come up. We may have ice … heating can be a serious issue. Regularly checking on friends, neighbors, people in our community and certainly family members is really an important thing to do.”

It can be a matter of simply making sure the heat is turned on. Ganong says sometimes a person will keep the thermostat low out of fear of running up a high utility bill, but there can be other problems. He says even he has trouble with modern heating systems, programming the temperature, the fan cycle and other settings.

“Setting the furnace for winter is something that may take a little consultation to be done correctly … our older loved ones may actually need a little help in that way, that we wouldn’t normally think of.”

He also says this is a good time of year to ask people who might have trouble getting out if they need help getting groceries and other supplies.

Generally, Ganong says, it’s just a good idea for people of all ages to have regular contact with others so that if an emergency does come up, someone is more likely to find out about it and be able to help.