Tips for Winterizing a Senior's Home

By Michelle Cemental

The wintertime is a challenging time of the year for all homeowners, especially seniors who could use the extra help preparing for the ice and snow to come. By planning ahead, you can help ensure your loved ones stay warm and safe during the winter months. Here are great tips to help winterize senior's homes this winter.

1. Make Blankets & Winter Clothes Accessible

A huge challenge seniors face as we roll into this winter season is locating items like warm blankets, winter coats, hats, scarves, mittens, and winter clothes. Seniors may store them in basements or attics during the summer months. Make sure all of their warm belongings are within reach and easily accessible to their living quarters.

2. Check the Chimney, Heater & Detectors

Book an appointment to have the fireplace or wood stove cleaned out. This can prevent creosote buildup which can pose a serious fire hazard after just one season of use.

Next, ensure the heating system is in proper working order. Change the furnace filter. You certainly don't want your loved one's furnace going out when it is below zero degrees.

Finally, install carbon monoxide detectors and check fire detectors throughout the house. Fireplaces and wood stoves can emit an odorless and poisonous gas that can easily go undetected and turn fatal.

3. Schedule Snow Removal Services

Hire a professional, neighbor or family member to shovel your loved one's driveway and de-ice with salt after a snowstorm. This will prevents seniors from going outside and attempting to shovel themselves, which could lead to slippery falls or exhaustion.

4. Prepare for Emergencies

Just in case disaster strikes, make sure your loved ones are ready. If a winter storm results in a major power outage, there are some essentials you can prepare ahead of time to make it easier. 

  • Emergency Kit - Fill it with first aid supplies, blankets, batteries, flashlight, and weather radio
  • Food - Stock the pantry with food that's ready to eat (no refrigeration & no cooking required)
  • Cell phone - It's a smart idea to keep a charged backup cell phone ready to go at any time
  • Medicine - Have important medicines ready if a drug store is out of the question

5. Insulate the Home

Install plastic covers over glass windows, replace worn down weather stripping, put door sweeps in place, etc. Preparing windows and doors with extra insulation will keep seniors' homes much warmer and reduce energy bills. Just by adding a layer of curtains, you can trap heat inside more effectively. For extra savings, try bubble wrap or a sheet of plastic. 

In addition, insulate your pipes to prevent freezing. You can use pre-slit pipe foam or heat tape that are both easy to use. Remove any window air conditioning units rather than leaving them installed in the house. They can leak a lot of heat out of the home and let a lot of cold air in. 

6. Consider a Programmable Thermostat

Make sure your loved one stays warm this season. Programmable thermostats are not very expensive and not difficult to install. They only need programming once and will pay for themselves during the first winter. They automatically turn the heat down at night when you can stay warm under the blankets. If you have central air, they can save you money come next summer as well.

7. Don't Forget About Outside

While you are winterizing inside the home, don't forget about outside. Clean the gutters so that they don't fill with ice or backup into the attic or walls. Cut dead tree limbs so that they won't fall on the house during a storm. Additionally, some houses have removable storm windows and doors. If this is the case in your loved one's home, make sure you put them on.

By following these helpful tips, caregivers can make sure their loved ones are warm, safe, and happy this winter. 

At Caring Senior Service we are always ready to help seniors and their families by providing professional advice and services. As you consider ways to give support to your aging parents or relatives, consider including us in your plans. Contact your care team today!

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Tags: Senior Safety