When elderly people become dependent on others to help them out, such as family caregivers and home care assistants, they especially need help in maintaining the home. With age, it’s harder for seniors to do home maintenance tasks and upkeep like they used to. One thing that is extremely important each fall is to ready the home for winter. Winterizing tasks are often too much for elderly relatives to accomplish, so it’s up to family caregivers.
Here are 10 things that family caregivers should accomplish for winterizing the home of their elderly relatives:
1. Clean the gutters: All the debris from summer and fall can clog up the gutters in a big way. Without good drainage on the roof, the ice and snow can’t go anywhere and there can be big problems as a result. Some of the potential problems include improper ventilation, uneven insulation and roof leaks from ice dams.
2. Weatherproof indoor/outdoor systems: Disconnect any outdoor garden hoses from faucets and drain the automatic sprinkler system. Many people cover the swamp cooler or air conditioner for the winter as well.
3. Check on plumbing: The freeze/thaw cycle can be hard on pipes in vulnerable areas that aren’t properly insulated. They can be wrapped in special coverings to protect them from bursting.
4. Get rid of dead tree limbs: With ice and snow on them, a dead tree limb can crash down on a roof, gutter, porch, deck or car.
5. Seal leaks around windows and doors: Weather stripping can wear out and become brittle, which makes it less effective at stopping cold air from entering and warm air from leaking out. Putting insulation plastic on windows can also help cut costs.
6. Look at the roof: It’s easy for loose shingles, cracks, and other roof issues to go unnoticed, but they can create a lot of trouble in the winter. Either check for roof issues or hire a professional to inspect it before the snow flies.
7. Chimney maintenance: It’s easy for debris or creatures to clog up the fireplace when not in use. Arrange for a professional to inspect the fireplace and chimney and give them a good cleaning before they are needed.
8. Test the heating system: All it takes is a minute to flip it on to ensure that it is blowing warm air. Fall is a good time to schedule an annual inspection of the furnace and more via an HVAC specialist.
9. Check snow removal equipment or services: If family members are going to do snow removal, they should check that blowers, shovels and more are all in good working condition. If contracting out, confirmation of services for the upcoming season is wise.
10. Prepare for power outages: In areas where ice and snow are plentiful, it’s not unusual for residents to suffer from power loss a few times. Make sure there are flashlights, fresh batteries and an emergency kit with water and food that doesn’t need to be cooked.
Seniors will feel safe and warm when winter arrives after a thorough winterization plan is enacted by family caregivers. After that, it’s important for elderly people to work with their family members and home care assistants to ensure they dress warm, stay hydrated and avoid walking on ice to stay happy and healthy all winter long.
If you or an aging loved-one are considering elderly care in Dix Hills, NY, please contact the caring staff at Family First Home Companions.
Serving all of Long Island. Call today: (631) 319-3961
Jennifer has specialized training in Alzheimer’s disease through the Long Island Alzheimer’s Association and the Long Island Alzheimer’s Foundation.She also volunteered her time with the Alzheimer's Disease Assistance Center of Long Island for 3 years by providing cognitive stimulation to an Alzheimer’s patient group.
Jennifer educates the community about elder care and speaks to caregiver support groups, senior centers, and at professional organizations.Topics include home safety, effective strategies for family caregiving, elder care planning, and awareness about elder abuse.
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