Autumn has arrived in many parts of the country, and that means it’s time for people to start winterizing their homes. Family caregivers that are responsible for elderly relatives have the additional task of helping out. It’s especially important in climates that get freezing temperatures. By winterizing their elderly relative’s home, they are making sure their loved ones don’t risk their health and safety by doing those tasks that are needed.
Here are a few things that family caregivers can do to make sure their elderly relatives are comfortable during the winter and safe because they won’t try to do things themselves.
- Check the heating system before temperatures drop. All caregivers need to do is to turn it on and make sure that warm air is coming out. It doesn’t hurt to have an HVAC technician come out and do an annual inspection of the system as well.
- Cover water pipes in uninsulated spaces to avoid burst pipes.
- Make snow removal arrangements now, whether it’s a professional service, hiring a neighbor or the caregiver doing it themselves. If family members will be pitching in, check that all equipment, like snow blowers, are working.
- Prepare windows and doors with insulation, such as putting sealable plastic covers on glass or replacing worn weather stripping and door sweeps.
- Disconnect any garden hoses from outdoor faucets because pipes can freeze or burst that way. If there is an automated sprinkler system, it should be winterized as well.
- Change the furnace filter so that it runs efficiently through the winter.
- Check the chimney and fireplace, and hire a chimney cleaner if it hasn’t been serviced in a few years.
- Get flashlights, kerosene heaters and enough food and water to get through a power outage. It’s common for snow and ice to knock out power in some areas of the country, so preparing now can keep elderly people more comfortable in that event.
- Clear out debris from the gutters, like leaves, sticks, garbage and more.
- Look for loose or missing shingles on the roof and make arrangements for repairs.
Once colder weather arrives, encourage everyone in the home to be smart and use good habits. For example, family members and home care assistants should encourage the elderly person to wear sweaters and set the thermostat high enough to stay warm but low enough to be efficient and affordable. Seniors should not attempt snow removal themselves, especially if they are dealing with mobility or balance issues. If the elderly person is being cared for full time by a home care agency, they should notify the family caregiver of any winterization issues that need attention.
As people age, the realities of managing a home and getting it winterized can be very difficult and almost seem impossible. With the right elderly care support plan in place and a lot of proactive winterizing measures, an elderly relative can live in comfort in their own home through the colder winter season.
For home care in Woolwich Township, NJ, and the surrounding areas, call and talk to us at Home to Stay Healthcare Solutions (856) 321-1500.