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Helping Seniors Winterize Their Homes

Jan 15, 2013 by Mark McGoldrick

In colder areas of the country, like Shelton, winter can be a particularly difficult season for seniors.

However, you can make this time of year less menacing by helping your senior loved ones prepare and seal their homes to protect against winter’s chill.

Bundling Against the Cold

Winterizing a home doesn’t have to be expensive. Simply installing weather strips around doors and caulking around windows can pay dividends in lower heating bills and more comfort for seniors. You can also keep cold air out by sealing openings in the foundation, which have another downside: access to animals looking for shelter.

Adding insulation to the attic provides extra protection.

Some simple preparations prevent inconveniences that can turn into major problems and expenses. Insulate exposed pipes to prevent them from freezing—and possibly bursting and causing damage to the home and contents.

Clearing leaves and other debris from gutters is a simple fix that can also prevent extensive damage. Clogged gutters keep melting snow from draining off the roof. The melted snow pools in the gutter and edge of the roof, and when it freezes, creates an ice dam that blocks further runoff. As it sits there, this water can seep into the house, damaging interior walls.

Interior Preparations

Another focus of winter preparation should be the furnace. Have it checked to make sure it is in good, safe working order, and stock up on furnace filters. Also have auxiliary heating units inspected and serviced. Check with your local fire department for tips on safe operation of auxiliary units (such as keeping them at least three feet from combustible materials).

If the home has a fireplace or wood-burning stove, hire a reputable chimney sweep to clean the chimney at the beginning of each heating season. Place wood where it is easy to reach.

Other Preparations

Make snow removal arrangements for your loved one with a reliable neighbor or business and stock up on salt and/or sand. Help your loved one prepare for emergencies by putting together emergency kits for the home and car.

Also, check up on your loved one during winter storms and arrange for a trusted neighbor to check in. Or call Comfort Keepers® of Shelton, 203-924-4949, to help with transportation, grocery shopping, companionship and other services to make winter more bearable.

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