Making Sure Your Elderly Loved One’s Home is Ready for Winter

Senior care in the winter

Though the first official day of winter isn’t until December 21, the coldest months of the year are here. While this time of year your focus is likely on holiday preparations and celebrations, it’s important to recognize the trials and tribulations of the season are much more serious. Making sure your elderly loved one’s home is ready for winter should be a top priority.

Seniors spend more time at home in the winter than at any other time of year. Ensure their space is not only safe for them to navigate through, but safe to live in, by checking these key factors.

Making Sure Your Elderly Loved One's Home is Ready for Winter

Test the smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors

Winter is also home fire season. According to the National Fire Protection Agency, the colder months of the year prompt more house fires than ever. Heating equipment, in particular, is responsible for one in six reported home fires. In addition to ensuring their home’s heating system is up to date, test the smoke and carbon monoxide detectors too.

Testing these devices is simple. Stand on a ladder and press the test button (usually in the center) for five seconds. The detector will beep if it is working properly, however, it isn’t a bad idea to replace their batteries regardless. In doing so, you won’t have to worry about the device losing power partway through the winter.

To be extra safe, consider keeping a lightweight fire extinguisher in an easy-to-access location. Make sure your family member knows how to use the extinguisher so that if an emergency occurs while you are away, they can handle it.

Have the chimney/flue inspected and cleaned

Those who have a fireplace in their homes often use it for ambiance and additional warmth during the winter months. Before your loved one uses the fireplace for the first time, have a professional come out to ensure it’s working properly. Once certain that everything is operating correctly, they will clean away any debris that could cause issues upon use.

Before using the fireplace, clean the ash from previous fires. Keep the safety screen closed while in use to limit the chance of burns from anything popping off the fire (such as embers). Keep the area clear of anything flammable, including drapes, décor, or furniture.

Making Sure Your Elderly Loved One's Home is Ready for Winter

Arrange for ice and snow removal

A senior’s risk of experiencing a serious slip and fall exponentially increases during the winter months. Having a snow removal service on standby is essential to keeping your loved one’s journey to and from the mailbox safe.

Trying to call up a service the night before a storm will likely yield little results. Instead, you should consider cutting a deal with a service sooner rather than later. That way, when ice and snow are in the forecast, you can rely on them. There are specific companies you can hire to complete this service for you, but there are also volunteer organizations designed to help older adults in particular. Look into this ahead of time and choose what is best for your loved one.

Winterize the car

If your elderly loved one still drives, use this opportunity to winterize their car. Take the car in for its usual servicing and make sure they complete an oil change, replace the windshield wipers, assess and replace the tires, and change the battery as necessary. Keep an emergency kit in the back seat in case something happens on the road. They should include important items such as blankets, warmers, bottled water, and energy bars.

Get assistance through the winter season with home care

If you provide care to your aging loved one, you know how challenging it can be even without the winter weather to contest with. If you ever struggle with the responsibilities of care, you are not alone, and you can get help.

For 30 years, Home Care Powered by AUAF has acted as one of the leading providers of senior care in the Chicago area. Our staff is trained to assist with any and all necessary activities of daily living your loved one requires to age safely at home. For more information on finding a caregiver for a family member, give us a call at 773-274-9262.

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