If you’re a senior citizen, it’s important to think about how you will prepare your home for the upcoming winter season. You will want to make the home as energy efficient as possible. In addition, you will want to make sure the inside of the home and outdoor walkways are easy to navigate, to prevent falls and possible injury.
If you find yourself unable to prepare your home this year, it may be wise to contact a senior care provider for assistance. A company like Seniors Helping Seniors can help you get your home ready for the cold season, if there are some tasks you’re unable to tackle yourself.
The following tips will help you get your home ready for the upcoming winter season:
1. Eliminate or reduce drafts
Drafts usually come from under doors or around window frames and sills. In an older home, replacing the windows can help. But, if you don’t have the budget for new windows and the current windows are in good operating condition, sealing the sills and frames with clear caulking or putting plastic over the windows can help.
There are kits available to help keep cold from coming through windows. But, they only address the glass, not the frames. Plastic can be applied over the window frames as well, to completely eliminate window drafts.
Another place where cold air can come in is under the front and back doors. Properly installed storm doors can eliminate some draft. But, if a gap exists under the main door, weather stripping can work. Using duct tape and turning one side under can also work, if weather stripping is difficult to install. Another option is to use a poly filled or rice filled long stocking at the base of the door. If it’s not difficult to move it away when going and coming back, this can also be a viable option for reducing drafts. Finally, keeping doors and windows sealed for rooms that are not used can greatly reduce heating costs in Winter.
2. Keep supplies within easy reach
For shoveling and removing snow from porches and walkways, the job will be easier if supplies are kept just inside the front door. A small bag of salt, a shovel, and maybe a broom can be kept near the front door, but inside. This prevents supplies from being taken or from getting lost.
For removing leaves and debris before the snow falls, a small potting shed can help keep rakes and other lawn care items in their place. A small shed with easy access can be locked. It also helps keep lawn tools in place, so helpers can access them to assist with lawn chores. Your senior care provider will help with outdoor yard tasks.
3. Address indoor and outdoor rugs
Placing a sturdy door mat outside the front door makes sense. It can help get ice, snow, and mud off shoes, before coming indoors. But, a mat at the front door should not pose a hazard for tripping and falling. A low mat works better than a thick one, because it’s less of a hazard for falls.
Inside the home, loose rugs are a serious hazard. Even thick rugs can shift or move, if not secured properly. Rugs should only be used in areas of high traffic and should be secured with two sided tape. Alternatively, rugs with rubber backing, which helps keep them in place, should be used on hard flooring, such as in the kitchen, bath, or on a hardwood floor in the bedroom.
4. Keep Winter gear handy, but out of the way
Seniors must make sure the have the proper winter gear, especially if they plan on going outdoors periodically. A good pair of winter boots with plenty of insulation and plenty of tread on the soles is recommended.
Hats, gloves, and scarves should be kept out of the way, but somewhere they can easily be reached when a trip outdoors is planned. This may require installing a shelf with hooks near the front or back door. A warm, lined winter coat is also a necessity. Calf length or longer can help maintain body heat. A boot or shoe rack near the front door helps keep water from being tracked through the house, where it can cause slips and falls. Placing a rubber mat under the shoe rack will also help remove water hazards due to thawing ice and snow.
5. Furnace maintenance
A heating system should be checked yearly, if possible. This helps eliminate common heating system problems, like clogged ventilation systems and build up of carbon monoxide. It can help address minor repair problems with a furnace or heating source, before it becomes a costly emergency.
There are many ways seniors can prepare their homes for upcoming winter months. A checklist can help address the most important tasks needed to prepare. A company like Seniors Helping Seniors can help those who are less able, get their homes ready for the colder months.