As we Michiganders prepare for another harsh winter, we must remember to take extra steps in protecting our elderly loved ones. If unprepared, a simple power outage can strand them without light or heat for several hours, or an old wood stove can slowly fill their home with smoke.
Continuing our special three-part series on winter safety, today we will examine ways to prepare the inside of your elderly loved one’s home. If you missed it, our first installment covered safety measures outside the home, including preventing icy porches, fallen limbs, and more. Click here to read it.
First, your elderly loved one needs to be prepared in the event of a power failure. Safe inside from a winter storm, their home could suddenly lose power (and possibly heat), for up to several days. The CDC recommends stocking up on emergency supplies for events like this, and items on their list include:
- A cell phone, charger, and extra batteries.
- Battery-powered flashlights
- Extra blankets
- Clean drinking water
- No-cook food, such as canned or dry goods.
- Readily available warm clothes, including heavy socks.
To read the CDC’s complete list of recommendations, click here.
Secondly, many of our elderly loved ones live in homes with wood fireplaces. While certainly reliable and warm, make sure you’ve taken the proper steps to ensure their safe operation.
- Use carbon monoxide and smoke detectors. These devices are inexpensive, and can be installed in a matter of minutes. Carefully follow the instructions for placement and testing, and make sure older units are still functioning properly. Also, stock up on extra batteries for these devices.
- Have a fire extinguisher handy. Double-check to make sure the fire extinguisher is not expired, is in good working order, and is easily accessible.
Our third and final installment will include tips on preparing your loved one for the winter months, including prescription medication coverage and hypothermia. Thank you for reading!