Warm a Home
6 ways to help keep seniors safe at home during the coldest months.
The Facts: Betty felt a little chilly at night when the temperatures dipped below freezing, but she brushed it off. Luckily, a neighbor checked on her and realized her house was very cold. Her thermostat was set too low. The neighbor helped Betty set her thermostat to a higher temperature, helping to ensure she had a safe and warm home for the winter.
Unfortunately, seniors like Betty are at a higher risk of hypothermia. In fact, those over the age of 65 account for nearly half of all hypothermia deaths. The leading reason for hypothermia in the elderly is due to poorly heated homes, which can be preventable.
As the body ages, the ability to maintain a normal internal body temperature decreases, creating an insensitivity to moderately cold temperatures. Seniors may not realize they are putting themselves at risk until symptoms appear. When symptoms are present, medical attention is necessary.
Here are six tips to help keep your home, or senior loved one’s home, safe and warm this winter:
Keep the thermostat at 65 degrees, at least. Consistently check to make sure it is sufficiently warm. Even as heating costs rise, safety should be a priority.
Put a carbon monoxide detector near where you sleep.
Ensure that there is adequate insulation, and check and clean the fireplace and furnace. Furnace filters should be replaced monthly.
Minimize drafts by filling old socks with sand and using them in drafty windowsills and door jams. Weather-strip around windows and doors. Keep doors to unused rooms closed and close curtains at night.
Add an extra blanket to the bed and warm the bed in advance with a hot water bottle. Avoid electric blankets – it may be difficult to operate the controls if the temperature needs to be adjusted in the night.
Dress in layers of loose fitting clothing. If you go outside, make sure your head is covered.
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