As summer winds to a close, we (begrudgingly) prepare for winter. Last year, several Michigan cities experienced record snowfall, and on January 7th, the wind-chill dipped to minus 40 degrees Fahrenheit, right here in Ann Arbor!
While we cannot control the weather, we can take steps to mitigate the risks posed to seniors by freezing temperatures and heavy snow. Many of those preventative measures involve home repair, which should be done now, before the snow flies. In the first installment of a a special three-part series, we will be explaining how to prepare the exterior of your loved one’s home.
1. Seniors are always at risk for falls, and that risk increases when ice begins to form on the ground. To prevent ice build-up, check for gutters that leak over sidewalks or porches, and look for roof runoff water that lands in the same spots. These repairs can be relatively inexpensive, and will prevent ice build-up in the colder months.
2. Freezing temperatures, heavy snow, and strong winter winds are a recipe for disaster when mixed with dead tree limbs. Fallen branches (or entire downed trees) can lead to power outages, blocked pathways, and damage to your loved one’s home. Look around power lines, above the roof, and near sidewalks and driveways. Are there any rotten, sagging, or dead limbs that would cause damage if they fell? Have an expert evaluate your yard and identify any trees that pose a risk.
3. Winter days are shorter, and nightfall comes quickly. If the exterior of your loved one’s home is dimly lit, navigating in the darkness can be very challenging, even dangerous. Adding new porch, garage, or walkway lights is an effective way to mitigate that risk. You can also put new or existing lights on a light sensor or timer, to ensure your loved one’s home will be consistently well-lit. As a bonus, many lighting products available today are energy efficient, so you won’t have to worry about a higher electrical bill.
If you are in need of a local contractor to provide an estimate for any of these repairs, feel free to contact us today (we have an Angie’s List account!). Keep an eye out for our next post in the series, which will examine ways to prepare the inside of your loved one’s home for another record winter!