Winter officially begins on December 21, 2021. While we have had a pretty mild Fall, it may be easy to forget winter is on the way. If you are the caregiver for an aging loved one who lives alone, it’s important to help them prepare their house for the snowy season ahead. Preparation is key, and getting things addressed now will help keep your home warm before the January and February frigid temperatures hit. From furnace inspection to a smoke alarm test, we created this winter safety checklist to help you get started.
Test Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Detectors
Smoke and Carbon Monoxide detectors are literal life-savers. For seniors with mobility challenges, being alerted to problems early gives them more time to safely escape. If you aren’t sure how to install or inspect smoke alarms, read this smoke detector safety checklist from the National Fire Protection Association.
Heating systems can range in function; gas, oil, forced hot air and base-board heading. Having the professionals do a quick system check could prevent potential dangers and assure your system will stay running all winter long. You can typically ask for a system check when you are getting your oil or gas delivered, and save some costs on sending someone out. Be sure to ask if they offer a free diagnostic or discount when checking on your system, to make sure you can keep purchasing fuel from them!
Clean Your Gutters
Leaves and other debris can build up in the gutters throughout the year. When it freezes, it can cause ice jams and cause your gutters to not function properly. When water can’t drain out through the gutters, it might end up leaking into the home or basement. That can lead to a big, expensive mess. If you aren’t able to inspect and clean the gutters, ask a neighbor to help or hire someone who can.
Checking Your Pipes, Inside and Out
These days, plumbers can be hard to come by, but this is critical when it comes to freezing climates. Burst pipes can destroy homes, and be a cause for concern in frigid temperatures. It’s the last thing you need on a cold winter’s day. Protect the home’s exterior faucets by disconnecting the hoses and draining the faucets. Make sure to turn off the line before the first freeze.
Plan For Snow Removal
Falls remain the leading cause of fatal injuries among seniors. Winter can be especially hazardous. Before the first snowfall, create a plan for having the driveway, sidewalks, and entryways cleared and salted.
Local agencies on aging and senior centers maintain a list of reliable snow removal services who work with older adults. Some even offer a senior discount. Call those closest to your family member if you need a referral.
Stock Up of Canned and Non-Perishable Food
Now is the time to stock up on non-perishable food items, staples, prescriptions, and over-the-counter medications. Bottled water, peanut butter, crackers, canned fruits and meats, flashlight batteries, toilet paper, and paper towels are just a few. If the senior has a pet, buy extra supplies for them, too.
While insurance companies may limit medication refills, do the best you can to get ahead. They should have enough medicine on hand for a few days in case a power outage or snowstorm keeps them housebound.
You can stay safe all the time when you get a medical alert system with MedGuard Alert. We provide emergency medical alert systems that allow you to connect with medical professionals from anywhere. Call today to learn more about our systems that start at just $1 a day. You may qualify for additional discounts through Medicaid.
Call today. 1-800-716-1433