Being responsible for an elderly or disabled person is a full-time job. While it can be rewarding to know that you are the caretaker of someone you love, you have to always think ahead. Now as the winter season is upon us, there are many things that need to be done to ensure that your charge is not only comfortable but safe from harm or hazards.
This time of year can be very challenging for anyone who is struggling with a disability and for those responsible for elder care. So, it is especially important to plan ahead for these trying times.
Assess Your Home
One of the first things you need to do is assess your home to determine what things need to be repaired, changed, or upgraded to ensure the welfare of your patient. This step can help to prevent problems from occurring later on when the cold sets in. Examine both the interior and the exterior of your home, looking for potentially dangerous conditions that could pose a problem for those you are responsible for.
Inside the Home
While you want to check everything, make sure that your furnace has been inspected and it is working properly. This will ensure that it is in optimum condition when it is needed the most. Be sure to change the filters to protect against invisible carbon monoxide poisoning.
You also want to check your smoke detectors and CO2 alarms. Replace the batteries if needed, and make sure they are operating the way they should.
Inspect around all of your windows to make sure that there are no drafts and fix any pipes that may be leaking or have the potential of freezing up when the temperature drops too low.
Finally, clean all the air ducts to rid them of dust, hair, dirt, and any other materials that may be an irritant to the lungs when blowing through your home.
Outside the Home
Have a supply of salt and/or sand ready to toss down when snow falls. This will lower the risk of them slipping on icy patches after snowing. And make sure you have a good snow shovel handy for when you have to clear a path.
If there are areas around your home that collect water when it rains, make sure that you have those areas protected with waterproofing for when the temperature drops. These areas can easily freeze over creating even more hazards.
Finally, check your roof to make sure that eaves, troughs, and gutters have been cleared of all debris. Replace worn-out shingles which could be a sign that a leaky roof is in your future.
When you are a caregiver, there are a lot of tiny little details you may not otherwise notice that could present a hazard to anyone that is either elderly or has a disability. Winter is probably the most dangerous time of the year for those who need elder care, and it is your job to get them through it free from harm. By taking the time to prepare before the cold weather comes, you lower the risk of accidents or illnesses that may come upon them and ensure that both of you will enjoy a pleasant season together.