Although fall is just now beginning to show us its true colors, it’s not too early to start thinking about winter weather conditions. And that is especially true when there are aging loved in our lives who are living alone. Living alone during the coldest part of the year can be difficult and even dangerous if the proper preparation isn’t set into motion.
According to AgingParentRescue.com, normal everyday tasks become harder for seniors living alone when temperatures drop. Likewise, worries about frozen pipes and the expense to keep the house warm can be incredibly stressful.
Therefore, it is imperative to help the elderly loved ones in our life winterize their homes earlier rather than later in the season. Here are a few tips from AgingParentRescue.com to make that happen:
Plan for De-Icing
Make sure that you have a set plan in place for keeping the doorway, driveway and sidewalk shoveled and de-iced at all times. Whether you’ll be hiring someone or you yourself will be in charge of it, take care of the scheduling before winter sets in and your options fill up. If possible, find a back-up plan as well in case the on-call person can’t make it for any reason. Purchase all necessary tools now and stock up on de-icer this fall before the winterization products undergo their normal winter price hikes.
Insulate All Around
By simply insulating the windows, you can drastically reduce the heating costs of a house and make it easier for the elderly to maintain a constant, comfortable temperature. A window insulation kit or even some extra thi
ck coverings over the window are affordable and easy to do. Make sure that you have draft blockers available for all doors and that any major holes or cracks are sealed shut with caulk.
Eliminate the need to remember when to turn the thermostat on/off/down by installing a programmable thermostat. This will allow you to easily set the central heating system to turn down at night, up in the morning and on and off for any set times the elderly will be out of the house. You’ll be able to help them efficiently cut down their energy bill without any extra effort on their part. And, because you will control the temperature yourself and can lock the settings, you can eliminate any potential danger from accidental temperature changes that would be too cold or too hot for an extended period of time.
The elderly will likely need and desire extra sources of heat beyond a central heating system set to room temperature. If this is the case, it can be warmer, as well as more cost and energy efficient, to provide small portable space heaters that they can use in close proximity to themselves. This also allows them to heat just one room a few degrees warmer than standard room temperature instead of the whole house. You will want to make sure to check for the UL stamp (Underwriters Laboratories) guaranteeing it meets safety standards as well as to ensure that it has an automatic shut-off feature in case it gets accidentally tipped over.
Check & Clean the Furnace
Make sure the furnace is in proper working condition and that it gets thoroughly cleaned before winter sets in. Cleaning the furnace can help with efficiency and cut energy use and cost. Plan to change the furnace filters once every month during the winter season to continue to keep efficiency high and to prevent against possible fire danger caused by dirty filters.