Winter can be especially challenging for aging individuals. Decreasing health, prescription medications, and limited mobility can make it difficult for seniors to stay safe during the winter months. Fortunately, there are some things you can do to help your aging loved one prep for winter.
Check the Furnace
Before the cold weather hits, be sure to make an appointment with a heating professional for a maintenance check of your loved one’s furnace. During the maintenance check, the service technician will change the furnace filter and ensure the unit is in proper working condition so it doesn’t break down when the outdoor temperature drops. In the event of a breakdown, make sure you tell your loved one to call you so you can bring him or her to a warm place such as your home or that of a friend or other relative.
It’s vital that your loved one stays warm during the winter. If you’re especially concerned that he or she might not be able to operate the furnace, prepare healthy meals, or take care of daily necessities without help during winter, consider hiring a professional caregiver to gain peace of mind. For many seniors in West Hartford, live-in care is an essential component of aging in place safely and comfortably. However, it’s important for them to have caregivers they can trust and rely on. At Home Care Assistance, we extensively screen all of our live-in and 24-hour caregivers and only hire those who have experience in the senior home care industry. Our strict requirements ensure seniors can remain in the comfort of home with a reduced risk of injury or serious illness.
Winterize the Car
If your loved one still drives a car, take it to a car maintenance center or back to the dealership where it was purchased to have it winterized. This process may include getting an oil change, checking and replacing fluids, making sure the heater is in good working order, checking the treads on the tires, and servicing the engine and transmission, if needed. In addition to having the car winterized, make sure you put a blanket in the car, and instruct your loved one not to drive unless he or she brings a cell phone. In a winter emergency, it will be crucial for your loved one to have a phone if the car breaks down in the middle of nowhere.
Seal the Windows
Drafty windows can spike up energy bills, which may be a hardship for seniors who live on fixed incomes. Windows that leak can also lower the indoor air temperature, making it difficult to stay warm. If you notice a draft coming from the windows, purchase window insulation tape to block the wind from coming in. If the windows are still drafty despite your best efforts, call in a window professional. In the meantime, tell your loved one to keep the curtains closed on days when the outdoor temperature is low to block the cold from coming inside the home.
You might find yourself facing challenges of your own because of harsh winter conditions. Colds, flu, or extra household maintenance tasks could make caring for your loved one especially difficult. West Hartford respite care professionals can assist seniors with a wide array of daily tasks, offering family caregivers the chance to focus on other personal responsibilities or take a break to prevent burnout. Whether it’s for a few hours a day or a few days a week, respite care is the perfect solution for family caregivers who are feeling overwhelmed.
Purchase a Flashlight, Radio, and Batteries
If the power goes out during an ice or wind storm, your loved one will need a flashlight with working batteries. You can also provide a battery-powered portable radio to listen to until the power goes back on. If your loved one lives alone, make sure to tell him or her that if the power is off for an extended period, he or she should use the cell phone to call you so you can pick him or her up and then go back to the warmth and safety of your home.
Cold temperatures and bad weather can make winters difficult for anyone to get through, especially aging adults. Seniors can face a variety of challenges as they age, many of which can be mitigated with the help of professional in-home caregivers who provide high-quality home care. West Hartford families trust Home Care Assistance to help their elderly loved ones age in place safely and comfortably. If you need professional care for your senior loved one, Home Care Assistance is just a phone call away. Reach out to one of our Care Managers today at (860) 372.4500.