Winter storms can wreak havoc on homes and communities, especially in northern climates. Families are often so busy during the holiday season that they may neglect to adequately prepare for winter and the threat of serious storms.
If you haven’t prepared yet, these tips can help you get your and your senior loved one’s homes ready for winter weather. We’ll also offer suggestions for putting together a winter storm emergency kit.
4 Steps to Prepare a Senior’s Home for Winter
- Storm windows: Heat can escape your house around the windows on cold winter days. If you live in an old house, you might need to install storm windows. For those in newer homes, it may be a matter of sliding the storm windows down. Some people find placing plastic coverings over old windows cuts down on drafts. If you do that, especially in a senior loved one’s home, make sure it can be quickly and easily removed in the event of a fire.
- Inspected furnace: If you haven’t already done so, make sure to schedule a furnace inspection. A heating professional can look for potential issues that might cause dangers with carbon monoxide. They can also inspect the furnace for problems that might cause it to quit, which can be dangerous on cold winter days.
- Clean chimney: It’s easy, but dangerous, to overlook fireplace safety. Creosote can build up over just one winter, creating a serious fire hazard. Schedule a cleaning with a professional chimney sweep. Remember, even gas fireplaces need to be cleaned periodically.
- Ice and snow removal plan: Icy walks and drives can present a serious fall hazard. Falls remain a leading cause of disability for older adults. Be sure to have a plan in place for keeping your senior family member’s sidewalks and driveway clear during the winter. If you don’t have someone available to do these tasks, call the local agency on aging. Many maintain a list of senior-friendly contractors.
Creating a Winter Storm Emergency Kit
Hopefully, your senior loved one won’t have to worry about a winter storm that results in a power outage or keeps them stuck in their house. But it’s best to be ready just in case.
Preparing for an emergency means creating a winter storm kit. A few things to stash in your emergency kit include:
- nonperishable food that won’t need to be cooked or refrigerated. Also include bottled water. Have enough of both to last at least 3 days.
- flashlights and extra batteries, first aid supplies, a weather radio, and a battery-operated cell phone charger.
- blankets and warm clothes. Staying warm when the power is out can be challenging. If you have a wood-burning fireplace, keep extra wood on hand all winter long.
- a week’s worth of prescription medications in case you can’t get out for a few days.
- an emergency kit for your pets. Food, water, medications, and warm blankets are important for them, too!
Short-Term Stays at Sunrise Senior Living
One way to avoid winter storm worries is a short-term stay at a Sunrise Senior Living community. Because each of our communities has a plan in place for emergencies, residents can relax and enjoy the companionship and activities that occur every day.
We call this short-term stay program "respite care." Guests who join us for respite enjoy the same services and amenities as long-term residents. From healthy meals and wellness programs to transportation and life enrichment activities, no detail is overlooked at Sunrise. Call us today to learn more about short-term respite stays.
Source: Sunrise Senior Living
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