The cold winter months are headed our way, which means it is time for turning on furnaces and fireplaces. One concern many family caregivers to older adults have during the winter months is that their loved ones remain safe and avoid fires caused by heating the home. According to the U.S. Fire Administration 890 people die each year as a result of house fires that occur during the winter months. In addition to the fire hazards associated with heating, there is also a risk of carbon monoxide poisoning. Knowing how to keep your aging parent safe can ease your mind and reassure you that they are cozy and warm during colder temperatures. Below are tips for family caregivers to share with seniors to ensure they safely heat their homes.
Maintain Space Around Heat Sources.
Items touching heat sources may catch fire. To prevent that from happening, keep all flammable objects at least three feet away from all heat sources, including fireplaces and space heaters.
Use Space Heaters Safely.
Space heaters can be an excellent way to add some warmth to your parent’s home. However, they can also pose a significant risk if they are not used correctly. Caregivers can help seniors to find a safe spot to place the heater. The surface should be level to prevent the heater from tipping. In addition, make sure the heater is close to an outlet since it is unsafe to use an extension cord with a space heater. Before plugging the heater in, inspect the cord and plug to make sure it is not broken, cracked, or frayed. Space heaters should only be used in a room when someone is in it. Caregivers should remind seniors to turn the space heater off when they leave the room and never to leave it on while they are sleeping.
Install and Test Smoke Detectors and Carbon Monoxide Alarms.
All homes should have smoke detectors and carbon monoxide alarms. If your parent does not currently have them, be sure to install them before turning on the heat. Test existing alarms and replace batteries regularly.
Use Generators Safely.
If your parent lives in an area where winter storms often cause electrical outages, a generator can ensure they stay warm until utilities are restored. Generators should never be placed indoors. They must be placed outside in an area that is away from doors and windows and has good air flow. The space should also be dry to prevent electrical shock. Use heavy duty extension cords to connect appliances to the generator.
If you or someone you know needs caregiver services in St. Cloud, MN, contact Prairie River Home Care. We provide quality and affordable home care services for many fragile or senior members in the communities we serve. Call us at (888) 660-5772 for more information.
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