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Winter Home Safety for Sheboygan & Fond du Lac Seniors

Feb 16, 2016 by Luke Ries

Prep the Home for Winter and Keep Seniors Safe

Snow, ice, cold, and severe storms. When winter rolls around, inclement weather is never far behind. Unfortunately, power outages and heating problems can quickly follow on the heels of winter storms, compromising senior safety.

If you’re concerned about winter home safety and are helping your senior loved one get their home ready for the weather, there are some extra precautions you should take to ensure they are prepared, even in the event of a severe storm.

Power Outages

Whether it’s a flood, a winter storm, or a hurricane ? snow, ice, rain, and wind can cause power outages. Follow these tips to ensure senior safety when the lights go out:

  • Important Phone Numbers – Post a list of phone numbers close to all of your senior loved one’s phones. Include utility companies, like power, gas, and water. Don’t forget the emergency numbers either, such as the fire department, police, doctor, and their home care provider. Quick access to these phone numbers can be crucial in an emergency.
  • Flashlights – Make sure seniors are equipped with working flashlights in the bedroom, kitchen, and living room. A battery-powered radio and extra batteries should be on hand as well.
  • Blankets and non-perishable foods – Seniors should stockpile warm blankets and non-perishable foods. When it’s cold or damp, they should also wear several layers of clothing, including a hat. Moving around also raises body temperature.
  • Medical devices – Does your senior rely on an electrical-powered home medical device? If so, make sure that the local electric utility is notified of its existence and need. This can put your loved one on a list for immediate attention during a power outage.

Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

The most common home heat sources in many parts of the Fond du Lac & Sheboygan area involve burning natural gas, kerosene, wood, and other fuels. But burning those fuels produces carbon monoxide, a deadly gas that you can’t see or smell. Unless fireplaces, wood and gas stoves, and gas appliances are properly vented, cleaned, and used, they can leak dangerous amounts of carbon monoxide. To prevent carbon monoxide buildup, follow these tips:

  • Call an inspector – Chimneys and flues need to be inspected annually and cleaned when necessary. (Ask the local fire department to recommend an inspector, or look up “chimney cleaning” for your area.)
  • Open a window – When your senior loved one is heating a space using a kerosene stove, ventilation is a must. Open a window (just a crack will do) to ensure proper ventilation.
  • Carbon monoxide detectors – Put battery-operated carbon monoxide and smoke detectors near fireplaces, wood stoves, or kerosene heaters. When daylight savings time begins or ends, make sure you install new batteries to keep them running.
  • No stove – Never allow your loved one to heat their home using a gas stove. Charcoal grills, or other stoves are not made for home heating.

With a sound plan in place, seniors can be properly prepared for inclement weather. Comfort Keepers®’ trained caregivers help provide senior clients with the highest quality of life possible to keep them happy and healthy at home. Our Interactive Caregiving™ provides a system of care that addresses safety, nutrition, mind, body, and activities of daily living (ADLs) no matter what the weather.

If you’re concerned about a senior loved one’s safety this winter and are considering ways to get them some extra help, schedule an in-home consultation with the Comfort Keepers® of Sheboygan & Fond du Lac to talk through all the care options available or call us at (920) 843-5858

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