Senior Homeowners’ Winter Blues: Beating the Cold in Six Easy Steps

Despite the challenges of living alone, many seniors still choose to age in place. They want to maintain their freedom and independence for as long as possible. While some are still strong enough to drive, run errands, and do activities of daily living, there are things most seniors now have a hard time doing. This includes repairing and maintaining the house. What can older adults do to make sure their homes ready before the season changes?

Aside from asking assistance from their loved ones, seniors can seek the help of their close neighbors to mow the yard, replace a broken light bulb, or fix a squeaky door. But as winter draws near, homeowners need more than just a bit of fixing to prepare the house for the cold season.

The following are things seniors can do to safely get their home ready for winter.

Water Heater Maintenance and Repair

During winter, water heaters have to work harder to heat the cold water. Since seniors need hot water to make their bathing water just the right temperature, it only makes sense to have the water heater checked and maintained before the cold season. The last thing one needs is their water heater failure during winter.

Luckily, seniors can hire the services of a local plumber to have their water heaters maintained. They can check if the water heater needs repair or replacement. This is especially true if you are already seeing the following signs.

  • The water heater has a leak
  • Hot water runs out too fast
  • You hear funny noises from your tank
  • The water that comes out is discolored
  • There is a fluctuating water temperature

HVAC Maintenance and Repair

Seniors easily get cold due to many reasons. One of which is the decrease in their metabolic rate. If your HVAC system, specifically your heating unit breaks down once the chill sets in, you could end up with hypothermia.

Hypothermia happens when a person reaches dangerously low body temperature. Even if you are inside the house and it is snowing outside, you can end up having hypothermia if the temperature inside the house is too cold and your body fails to keep you warm enough. With the help of an HVAC technician, they can ensure that your heating unit won’t fail during the coldest months.

Thermostat Upgrade

As we grow older, we tend to easily forget things like turning off the faucet, eating the leftovers before they spoil, and even setting the right temperature inside the house. Since temperature is extremely important during winter, upgrading your old thermostat can be a great way to ensure; you stay warm throughout the winter.

For seniors, the ideal temperature is between 68 and 70 degrees Fahrenheit. Of course, this will still depend on your health and preferences. With a smart thermostat, you can keep your home properly heated even if you tend to forget to set the temperature.

Adequate Lighting

Our eyesight can also deteriorate as we grow older. Since days are shorter and it tends to be darker during the winter, it only makes sense to ensure you have adequate lighting before the season changes. Reevaluate your lighting and consider switching to LED light bulbs.

Make sure that the areas inside the house that you often use are well-lit, accessible, and slip-proof. It is a good idea to have smart lighting installed. This way, you or a loved one can preset the hours when you badly need more light inside the house to keep yourself safe.

Door and Window Prep

It is a must that you prepare and insulates your home before winter arrives. This way, you can ensure that warm air stays inside while the cold air remains outdoors. You can start by adding door sweeps, weather stripping the doors and windows, and opting for thicker, heavier curtains.

If you have non-insulated doors and windows, you can opt to invest in plastic sheeting or reglazing them instead. Do replace caulking as needed. If all these seem like too much work for you, you can ask a handyman, a neighbor, or a pro to handle these for you instead.

Ice and Snow Removal

When you are a senior living on your own, it can be hard to navigate the outdoors especially with all the snow and ice. Seniors find it hard to recover after experiencing slips and falls. It is because of these reasons that arranging for ice and snow removal becomes a necessity.

If you don’t have a loved one who can help shovel the snow for you, you can always hire ice and snow removal services. Know that it is very dangerous to do this on your own. You can also seek help from local government offices that have programs that help seniors with snow removal during the winter.

There is no point in trying to winter-proof the house on your own. You may still be strong for your age. But it will be safer to allow your loved ones and the pros to help you prepare your house for the cold. Remember that your health and safety matters. You have different options, so make sure to use them wisely.