Winter is here and getting your house ready for wintertime gets challenging for homeowners, especially for older adults. They could be living alone and might have a lack of mobility or a decrease in the strength required to take care of certain things.
It can be of enormous help by planning and getting the house ready for your parents before the winter hits as that can reduce the risk of being unprepared for an early storm.
Here are some tips that can help you prepare your parent’s home for winter before the thermostat drops.
Checklist for preparing your parent’s home for winter
Prepare for emergencies
There could be a COVID-19 outbreak, winter storm or a power outage. It is always a good idea to prepare for such an emergency. Here are a few tips to help you organize your parents home to prepare for an emergency:
- Stock up the pantry with enough supplies of groceries and water bottles.
- Put together an emergency kit containing first aid supplies, blankets, a flashlight with extra bulbs and batteries.
- Medications and copies of medical information, insurance or health cards.
A safe option is to contact a local agency to shovel snow for the driveways and sidewalks of your parent's house. This approach will prevent them from going outside and attempting to do it themselves, which could lead to slippery falls or exhaustion.
Smart programmable thermostat
It is a good idea to invest in a smart programmable thermostat for your parent’s home as there are additional benefits added to it. A wi-fi enabled thermostat gives you access to control the temperature throughout different seasons on your phone or set a temperature that gives you an accurate level of comfort.
A smart thermostat can be cost-effective and energy-saving as it automatically regulates the temperature inside the house depending on the outside temperature.
Reconsider interior lighting
As the days are getting darker and shorter, it is essential to have proper lighting at your parent’s home. The dim lighting during the daytime on gloomy days could bother them and negatively impact their mood.
Having adequate lighting can help them see better and reduce the risk of any falls. Switching from older bulbs to LED lights can also be cost-effective.
Winter clothing accessibility
It is very important to make sure that your parents have warm clothes within their reach or easily accessible to them. It can get troublesome for them to locate their warm scarves, mittens, hats, winter coats, sweaters, gloves, socks, blankets or any other winter clothing when the winter weather first arrives.
Doing this in advance will avoid frustration and keep them safe and warm all winter long.
Recheck the water supply
It is essential to check and drain out any remaining water from outdoor hoses or faucets and turn off the water supply. This way, you reduce the risk of frozen or burst pipes that could lead to a mid-winter crisis.
Check for leaks/damage in the windows, doors and roof
Before the winter begins, it is essential to check if there are any damages or replacements required for the windows, doors or roof of the house. If insulation or repairs are needed, they can be done while the weather is still warm outside.
Test the heating systems
Before it gets too cold out there for your parents, have their heating systems checked thoroughly. Check the furnace, chimney and water heater to make sure everything is working appropriately. This approach will make sure your parents are stress-free throughout the season.
Winterize their car
You must winterize your parent's car as that could be the primary mode of transportation if they need anything in your absence. Some of the things you need to pay close attention to are;
snow tires, oil change, check tire pressure, wiper blades and check and top up any fluids like windshield washer or anti-freeze.
Maintenance of safety equipment
It is a good practice to check smoke detectors or carbon monoxide detectors on a regular basis as negligence could lead to other severe problems. You can also check if their fire extinguisher requires servicing and is accessible for your parents.
Clean up the gutters
The perfect time to start work on cleaning up the gutter is during the fall after all the leaves have fallen but right before the first snowfall hits. If you are not able to clean them before the winter, then they can get clogged or make it easier for water and ice to build up for an ice dam. That could result in damaging the roof or exterior walls.
Wintertime can certainly be challenging for your parents. Planning ahead and taking these necessary measures to have your parent’s house ready for winter will help them to stay positive, safe and to experience the joys of springtime soon enough.
Having an extra person around the house can be another way to keep older adults safe during Canadian winters. Call ActivePro today to learn more about how our home caregivers in Toronto can support your parents to live safely and independently at home.