Winter weather is on the way, so now is a good time to prepare your senior’s home for the cold, snowy days that lie ahead.
Here’s a checklist to get you started.
Have the furnace inspected. Many people don’t discover a problem until they switch the heat on for the first time. To ensure your senior isn’t left in the cold, have a heating specialist give the system a thorough inspection, replace filters and complete any necessary repairs.
Check carbon monoxide and smoke detectors. Change the batteries in the smoke and carbon monoxide detectors and make sure they’re in good working order.
Shut off and drain outdoor faucets. A frozen pipe that bursts on a cold day could create big problems and lots of damage. Be sure to disconnect all hoses and drain outdoor faucets before the first hard freeze.
Clean the gutters. When leaves build up in gutters, they can cause ice jams during winter months, which could lead to water finding its way into the home or basement.
Inspect the fireplace and chimney. Make sure there isn’t any build up in the flue, and remove any debris which could pose a fire hazard. If you’re worried that your loved one might not be able to safely manage a fire, you might want to consider blocking the fireplace off for the winter.
Install a programmable thermostat. In addition to improving efficiency and saving money, these devices can help those who live with dementia or Alzheimer’s disease. For example, most automatic thermostats come with a lock feature, which can keep your senior from turning the heat up or down too much.
Check for drafts. Inspect all doors and windows. Fix worn or cracked seals, apply weather stripping and insert insulation inside outlet covers, if needed.
Plan ahead for ice and snow removal. Icy or snowy stairs, sidewalks and driveways are major hazards for aging loved ones. Always have plenty melting salt on hand and, if necessary, enlist the help of friends, neighbors or professionals to help with snow removal.
Make sure the car is winter ready. If your senior is still driving, get their vehicle serviced before winter weather sets in.
Prepare for winter weather emergencies. If a winter storm results in a prolonged power outage, you loved one will need easy access to essentials. It’s a good idea to make sure they always have first aid supplies, warm blankets, flashlights, a charged cell phone, food and medicine on-hand.
“Taking a few simple steps now will ensure that your aging loved one stays warm and safe this winter,” said Sierra Goetz, co-founder and operations manger at Trail Ridge Home Care’s partner, the HomeCare Advocacy Network (HCAN). “If you are concerned that they may need assistance with other tasks this winter – like medication management, light housekeeping and meal preparation, we’re here to help. Whether it’s for just a few hours a week or 24/7, our professional caregivers can help your senior age safely in their homes for as long as possible.”