Caring for aging parents' housing and real estate needs? Are they, and you, prepared for winter cold and snow? In case caregiving and Christmas have kept you as busy as me, here are some more quick reminders for both of us:
- If you are in an area that could have power outages, make sure you all have plenty of batteries and simple-to-use flashlights or other battery-operated lamps easily accessible. And doublecheck that they are ones your aging parents can easily turn off and on. We had to exchange one flashlight a while back because the buttons were just too hard for my senior mom to operate
- If you or your senior parents have a wood-stove or fireplace AND they are able to operate it safely, make sure that there is a good stock of firewood, fire starters, and matches easily accessible.
- If the garage is attached to your house, you might want to bring the trash can into the garage (make sure it's fairly clean) so your senior parents don't have to go outside to throw trash away. I've slipped and fallen every year when taking the trash out because it didn't "look" icy. If that had been my senior mom, I shudder to think what she might have broken! If you can't put the container in a garage, perhaps you could move the trash can right next to the back or front door so they don't actually have to go outside.
- If you live with your elderly parents and have to travel in the winter, it might be wise to ask a wonderful neighbor to pick up their mail and newspaper and bring it to the door for your senior parent. If that's not an option (perhaps the neighbors are the same age as you senior parents/) you can also have your mail held till you return. Then your parent won't worry about the mail and go out and get it when it's not quite safe. You can also have the newspaper held – or perhaps contact the paper deliverer directly and offer a large tip to have it taken right to the door.
Simple suggestions, I know. But easy to forget. How about you? Do you have any suggestions to make winter weather a safer time at home for our aging parents?