It’s January, and it’s cold. Keeping warm is always an issue, but for seniors who may have poor circulation, take certain medications or have other conditions, it may be even more of a challenge. While turning up the heat may be the best and easiest way to stay warm, it may not be the most economical.
Here are some cold weather safety tips for seniors to stay warm during the cold months, with a focus on health and home safety.
Our cold weather safety tips for seniors
- Electric blankets – Although a great and relatively inexpensive way to keep warm, there are some electric blanket safety precautions that need to be taken. Be sure the senior is able to follow a few simple rules such as not setting anything on the blanket, not leaving it turned on (some models do have an automatic shut off), don’t use it on high (to prevent burns), do not plug into an extension cord and replace the blanket if the cord pulls out or is not working properly.
- Space heaters – Too avoid accidents and injuries with space heaters, always follow the manufacturer’s recommendations. However, most space heaters should never be plugged into an extension cord, should never have anything placed on or around them, should never be left on (find one with an automatic shut off or shut off if tipped over), should not be placed on an area with thick carpet, should not have the electrical cord run under carpet and should be replaced if not working properly or cord is pulled out.
- Weather stripping – Make sure all doors and windows are sealed well. Place plastic over windows that are not really in use.
- Close the door – Close the doors to rooms that are not in use in order to focus on heating just the rooms that are in use. You also can close off vents to these rooms.
- Furnace – If you haven’t done it yet, make sure you have a professional look at and maintain your furnace. Regular furnace maintenance will keep your furnace running well and extend the appliance life. Make sure any detected leaks are fixed and make sure to install a carbon monoxide detector.
- Close blinds and curtains – Keep window blinds and curtains closed to keep any cool air from coming through the windows.
- Towels or blankets – Use towels or blankets to block any drafts from under doors or on window sills.
- Rearrange furniture – Move the furniture away from large windows; don’t sit directly in front of drafts. Sit closer to the vents.
- Clothing – Lastly, warm clothes and extra blankets certainly will help keep the body warm. Long underwear under clothes, socks and slippers, and sweaters/sweatshirts will help warm you.
Even if the home has been prepared for the winter, be sure to check on them regularly to ensure they are staying warm.