As your parents get older, their safety, comfort, and well-being become increasingly important to you. You want to ensure they are taken care of, especially during winter when weather conditions are harsher. You worry about falls, cold temperatures, and their overall health. There are a few things you can do to help your elderly parents stay safe and comfortable this winter.
Install an electric heater
A heater installation is a critical step in keeping your parents safe and comfortable this winter. Going for an electric one is safer, more convenient to operate, doesn't produce carbon monoxide, and is less of a fire hazard.
If your parents already have a heater, ensure it is working correctly and that there are no frayed wires. Schedule regular maintenance check-ups to keep it operating efficiently and safely. Have a professional clean the ductwork, change the filter, and oil the movable parts as the manufacturer recommends.
Get a professional winterizing service
If your parents live in an area that gets extremely cold in winter, you should hire a professional to winterize their home. It includes caulking and weather-stripping doors and windows, insulating pipes, and adding storm windows.
The effort will keep the heat in and the cold out, making their home more comfortable and saving money on energy bills. Moreover, it will prevent any damages that could occur due to cold weather conditions.
Check the gutters and roof
Gutters full of leaves and debris cause water to back up and freeze, damaging the gutters, roof, and even the house's foundation. Clean the gutters before winter to avoid any issues. Have the roof inspected by a professional to ensure no loose or damaged shingles.
If there is any damage, get it fixed before the first snowfall. Also, check there's proper ventilation in the attic to prevent ice dams from forming. They cause water to back up and leak into the house, damaging the roof, walls, and ceiling.
Prepare for power outages
In winter, your parents are at a higher risk of experiencing a power outage. It's a critical concern, especially if they live in an area with severe weather conditions. Have a backup plan in place in case of an outage.
The plan includes having a generator at hand, stocking up on non-perishable food, and having plenty of warm clothing and blankets. Also, have a list of emergency numbers handy to contact you or someone else for help.
Test the smoke and carbon monoxide detectors
Ensure that all the smoke and carbon monoxide detectors are working. Test them monthly and change batteries at least once a year. If they don't have any, get them installed as soon as possible. These devices could save their lives in a fire or gas leak.
Plan on how to clear snow from their driveway and walkways
Just walking around the property in winter is dangerous for older adults. They are at a higher risk of slipping and falling on ice. Clear the snow if you live close by. If you don't, have someone they can rely on remove it.
Get a helping hand
If your parents live alone, consider hiring a professional caregiver to help them around the house, especially during winter. A caregiver will help with things like grocery shopping, cooking, cleaning, and even providing transportation to appointments. It will give you peace of mind knowing someone is there to help them when you can't.
Keep their home warm and dry
Remember to keep your parents' home warm and dry to prevent sickness. The ideal indoor temperature is between 68-74 degrees Fahrenheit. Use a humidifier to maintain the proper humidity level, around 30-50%. Doing this will prevent the air from becoming too dry, causing respiratory problems.
Keep in touch with your parents frequently to ensure they're comfortable, and their home is warm enough. You'll have more peace of mind knowing they're taken care of and not susceptible to the dangers of winter.