As the temperature drops and winter fully emerges, we’re naturally inclined to spend more time indoors. Ensuring that your home is winter ready is an important step to take in order to stay safe and warm during the cold winter season. If you know an older adult, whether they are a neighbor or a family member, you might consider offering to help implement the following home winterization tips:
Check heating systems
Make sure the furnace or other heating systems are in good working order. Clear any materials that might pose as a fire hazard. Ensure vents and filters are free of buildup and blockage. If your loved ones don’t already own one, purchase a fire extinguisher and teach him or her how to use it.
Arrange for snow and ice removal
Hire a professional or trusted neighbor or friend to help with snow and ice removal. In the winter months, seniors are even more at risk for slipping and falling outdoors. In addition, try to schedule snow removal consistently to prevent your loved one from shoveling or de-icing walkways.
Check carbon monoxide and smoke detectors
Our homes are closed off to the outside air during winter months. This reduction in ventilation can lead to a buildup of carbon monoxide inside your home. It is important to test every detector in your home on a monthly basis to ensure it is working properly. Replace any detectors that do not work. Generally, smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors should be replaced every 10 years to ensure they function properly in case of emergencies.
Prepare for emergencies
- Stock the pantry with food that doesn’t need to be cooked or refrigerated
- Keep first aid supplies, blankets, batteries and flashlights in an accessible location
- Have extra medication on hand in case the pharmacy is inaccessible
- Consider purchasing a cell phone to make connecting with loved ones easier
Consider your options
Tackling home winterization early on is a great way to help you or your loved one stay safe this season. If you’re a senior or perhaps a caregiver and are feeling overwhelmed by your winterizing to-do list, it might be time to consider your options. When maintaining a house becomes too difficult, it could be helpful to explore local retirement living options. Retirement living affords you the ability to spend time doing things you love instead of tackling your never-ending to-do list.