How Seniors Can "Winter Proof" Their Homes

frozen lake

Updated 7/17/17 5:00pm | Although winter isn’t here yet, Alert1 wants to help prepare you and your aging loved ones for the upcoming winter months.

Take the autumn months to get ready for winter and “winter proof” your loved one’s home. Many caregivers often overlook winter safety measures for seniors. Don't forget to invest in peace of mind with a medical alert system

Simple steps now can save you and your loved one lots of time and hassle in the winter months. 

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Help Your Loved One Stay Safe at Home

first aid kit

Your loved ones can avoid having to personally transport any emergency rations. Here’s what to do so they stay in the safety and warmth of their home.

  • Store emergency supplies. Keep non-perishable foods, extra medications, water, blankets, flashlights and batteries on hand. Be sure to stow these items securely, so aging loved ones can effectively manage their medication. 
  • Make arrangements to have supplies delivered. If keeping supplies on hand is not possible for your loved one, arrange to have extra food, water and medications delivered. Door delivery online for seniors is a far more efficient method. 
  • Hire someone to clear their driveway. Do not have your loved one shovel snow or walk in deep snow after a storm. Becoming over-exerted in the cold is not good for your senior’s health. Keep a list of local professionals who clear icy sidewalks for the neighborhood.

Winter-Proof The Home

stove in house

Have your loved one’s house “winterized” to keep the cold air out. Any slight drops in temperature can cause aging loved ones to develop hypothermia. Give their home a once-over to protect against that.

  • Double-check insulation. External walls and attics should be insulated. Doors and windows should have weather strips installed around the perimeter.
  • Clean the gutters. Before winter even hits, clear the gutters of debris. If the gutters are clogged in the winter, you’re more likely to see an ice dam build up. Overflowing water runoff from the roof will can create hazardous icicles.
  • Monitor the heat settings. Once winter hits, regularly monitor the heat settings in your loved one’s home to keep them warm. Be sure all heat vents, space heaters or radiators are unobstructed by furniture and other items.

Winterize Outdoor Pipes

outdoor plumbing pipes

Exposure to the elements can wreak havoc on pipes, especially in winter. Don’t be surprised by any sudden pipe emergencies.

  • Locate any outdoor pipes. The pipes that freeze most often are ones in direct contact with extremely cold temperatures. These pipes can be in crawl spaces, attics, garages, kitchen cabinets etc.
  • Know where to turn off water. As water freezes, it expands and applies a great amount of pressure on whatever is containing it. If your loved one lives in an area that gets below freezing, know where to turn off their water pipes before they burst.
  • Consider pipe insulation. If you’re not able to turn the water on and off during winter, try insulating those pipes. Alternatively, have a professional relocate exposed pipes.

Make The Car Winter Ready

car side mirror

If your loved one still drives, prepare their vehicle for winter. Know that in icy and snowy conditions, arriving safely at a destination isn’t always guaranteed.

  • Perform winter maintenance. Check wipers, tires, lights, and fluid levels regularly. Replace any worn out parts, and top off all fluid levels.
  • Test brakes and tires. Ensure the brakes are working properly, and that the tires have adequate traction. On wintery days, we recommend snow chains for icy and slick surfaces.
  • Get a mobile medical alert. Help your loved one stay protected with a mobile medical alert system when out and about during winter. Remember that if the trip is non-essential, it can always be postponed until weather conditions improve.

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Winter Wonderland

Winter isn’t always the glorious wonderland from the Christmas carols. Many severe winter threats that can be kept at bay if you prepare for them.

If you’re still worried about your loved one, get a fall detection alert system. That way your loved one will receive immediate attention in the instance of an accident or medical emergency. 

Caregivers need to regularly check in and lend a hand to a senior friend or family member. Precautionary measures now can prevent the likelihood of personal injury or home related incident. The extreme winter conditions affect us all, but extra support, a medical alert, and a helping hand can help your aging loved ones stay safe. 

STAY SAFE WITH A MEDICAL ALERT

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