Keeping Your Loved Ones Warm Through the Winter
As the weather gets cooler, it’s a brisk reminder to make sure that seniors living on their own at home are safe and protected this winter. Even if they have arranged home health care, there are still measures you should take to ensure that things are taken care of and protected all the time:
- Confirm with them that they have arranged for someone to keep the sidewalks clear if it should snow. It’s also a good idea to keep salt, cat litter or sand at their home to use as an interim solution for keeping steps, walkways and the driveway as slip-free and safe as possible.
- For seniors over 65 – especially those with any medical conditions – it’s great to leave any shoveling to others. If seniors do go outside in the cold, they are more susceptible to hypothermia due to a lower body heat – so time spent outside should be limited.
- Keep the inside temperature at a comfortable level and leave out extra blankets.
- If you are helping with meal planning, think about warm and nourishing hot meals – stews and soups are great. Over 1/3 of seniors living on their own are malnourished – keep them safe at home with plenty of good foods.
- Make sure your loved ones have transportation arranged during severe weather – whether it’s to the grocery or any appointments. Getting out is important. Maintaining a routine is important. But staying safe and warm is critical.
- Consider helping them decorate for the holidays to ensure that safety precautions are taken into account. An artificial, fire-resistant tree is the easiest way to go. Make sure that any type of tree is not near the fireplace or radiators.
- House fires are always a concern for seniors who live at home. Make sure that the chimneys and flues are inspected as you go into winter and that the furnace is in good/safe condition for use.
- Check smoke detector and carbon monoxide detector batteries as you head into winter. It’s great to get into the habit of checking these during daylight savings and time change weekends in November and March.
- Avoid space heaters if possible. If you must use them, make sure they are several feet away from anything that might catch fire such as curtains, bedding and furnishings.
- Make sure that the fire extinguisher is handy and in working condition.
We forget how many little, every-day things we do at our homes to make them safe and secure during the winter, as it’s second nature to do these things in our own homes. Just think about your aging loves ones and their homes. They are fortunate to be living in their own, comfortable environment, but they just may not have the energy or wherewithal to take care of these small but important safety measures.