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Senior Care Tips: Heating System Safety

Senior Care in Natick, MA

Gas range fireOne of your most important responsibilities during your wintertime senior care journey with your aging loved ones is making sure that they are warm and comfortable. Seniors are more vulnerable to cold temperatures than younger adults, and could even suffer from dangerous effects including hypothermia even when others do not feel that it is excessively cold. At the foundation of your approach to keeping them warm and comfortable is their home’s heating system, but while you are working toward making sure that their climate control is effective and prepared to keep them warm throughout the season it is essential that you also keep in mind the safety of the system.

Heating systems are one of the most common causes of house fires, and around half of those occur between the months of December and February, making preventing these and other heating system-related emergencies a critical focus of your winter senior care efforts.

Use these tips to ensure that their heating system stays safe throughout the coldest months of the year:

  • Get an inspection. A lot can happen during the spring, summer, and fall months when your parents’ heating system is sitting dormant in their home. During these months components of the system can become compromised, pests can cause problems within the system, and debris can build up. Before the coldest weather of the year hits, get in touch with the climate control system professionals in your parents’ area to schedule an inspection. This professional can examine the system and ensure that it is safe and in good condition for that first day you need to crank up the temperature in your parents’ home.
  • Keep it clear. Make sure that your parents keep the area around any heating system, including a central heater, radiator, floor furnace, or space heater, completely clear of anything, but particularly anything flammable such as paper or fabric.
  • Only use authorized systems. Be aware of your parents’ comfort level throughout the fall and winter months, ensuring that you check in on them about the indoor temperature so that you can make modifications as needed. This can help to discourage them from the unsafe practice of using appliances such as ovens or clothes dryers to heat their home.
  • Supervise as needed. While central heating systems and modern furnaces are safe to leave on when your parents are not home, make sure that they and their home care provider know to never leave a heating source such as a fireplace, woodstove, kerosene heater, or space heater on when they are not going to be in the home, or when they are going to bed.
  • Use a CO detector. Carbon monoxide is a colorless, odorless, tasteless gas that can be fatal when inhaled. It is also a common byproduct of heating systems. Overexposure to this gas can lead to dizziness, sleepiness, and confusion, and death can occur within as little as an hour. Make sure that your parents’ home has a carbon monoxide detector set up in the home to alert if this gas builds up in the space.

If you or an aging loved one are considering non-medical in-home care in Metrowest Boston, MA, call Griswold Home Care and speak to one of our caring staff members today. Call (781) 559-0073