How to Help an Older Adult Winterize Their Home


Winter creates challenges for every homeowner, and older adults might need a helping hand to prepare for them. If you deal with these tasks in the fall, before the ice and snow arrive, it will be a little easier. You’ll also have peace of mind in case winter makes an early appearance.

Here are a few tips to help you get started.

4 Safety Tips to Prepare a Senior’s Home for Winter

1.  Create a fall prevention plan.

Ice and snow are more than just inconvenient. They can also present fall risks. For seniors, falls at home are the leading cause of disability. Before the winter winds blow, have a solid plan in place for getting the sidewalks and driveway cleared.

If you can’t be there to perform these tasks, call your local agency on aging. Most offices are able to provide support with these chores or give you the names of people who can. Some fees are assessed on a sliding scale basis to make it easier for low-income seniors to get the assistance they need.

2.  Get the furnace inspected.

Unfortunately, every winter we hear stories on the news about people who have lost their lives due to carbon monoxide poisoning or a fire caused by a malfunctioning furnace. That’s why it’s vital to have the furnace inspected before the temperature drops. Also, take a few minutes to test the carbon monoxide detector.

3.  Check the smoke detectors.

Fire safety should also be at the top of your winter checklist. It’s important to make sure the smoke detectors are working. If the carbon monoxide or smoke detector requires batteries, it’s a good time to change them.

If you don’t live close enough to do this, call the senior’s nearest fire department. Many offer this service as a courtesy to older residents of the community.

4.  Stock up on basic supplies.

Winter storms can wreak havoc on a city or county’s power lines. It’s a good idea to be prepared in case the senior’s home is affected. These tips can help you prepare:

  • Stock the corner of the pantry or coat closet with nonperishable food that doesn’t require cooking. Peanut butter, crackers, dried fruit, nuts, and canned meat are a few suggestions. Also, make sure you have enough bottled water to last at least a week.
  • Have an emergency kit that contains flashlights and extra batteries, blankets, a battery-operated weather radio, and first aid supplies.
  • If your senior loved one doesn’t already have one, invest in a cell phone and backup battery. If the power is out for a few days, you’ll want to make sure you can reach them and the senior is able to call for help if needed.
  • Winter is no time to let prescription medication supplies run low. Remind your senior loved one to keep extra medicine on hand just in case they aren’t able to leave home for a few days.

If the idea of your senior loved one being alone during the winter is keeping you up at night, a senior living community might be a solution worth considering. Whether it is a short-term stay to ride out the worst of winter or a permanent move, one of our experienced senior care advisors can help you find a solution.

Call us today at 888-514-6461 to learn more. Our advice is always free for seniors and families!

Photo by Filip Mroz on Unsplash

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