Keeping Mom and Dad Safe at Home this Winter‘We live across the country – how can we be sure Mom is OK when she’s home all alone?’
‘I want to spend February and March in our Florida condo, but how will Dad cope with errands and home maintenance if in snowy weather?’
Adult children often worry about their aging parents, but even more so in the throes of winter. Add a dose of guilt at the idea of taking their own vacation, and you have a recipe for one worried grown-up kid!
Pre-planning will help you keep your parents safe this winter.
What can an adult child suggest to their parents to keep them safe at home? Here are some ideas:
Errands and Appointments
- Research practical support services such as ‘young seniors’ for regular drives for errands, appointments, outings
- Engage a driving service or open an account with a taxi company with office billing so there’s no fussing with change or tips
Meals and Housekeeping
- Increase existing home support in stages, such as the usual cleaning lady, but more often
- Enlist a grocery delivery service
- Research Meals on Wheels; delivered in person each day, or frozen, to conveniently microwave
- Renew contacts with your parents’ friends and set up a rota of phone calls and visits
- Try introducing a computer – even Skype – to keep in touch and expand horizons
- Reinforce long-time social contacts such as hobbies, neighbourhood activities, church connections
- Ensure basic safety is in place such as good outdoor lighting, hand rails, ramps instead of steps
- Obtain a home maintenance checklist from a reputable home appraiser and schedule any urgent repairs such as plumbing, roof, electrical
- Engage a snow service, ideally one that offers lawn care as well for year-round attention
- Install a home-based personal alarm service such as Lifeline
- Ensure safety while they’re out and about with a Medicalert bracelet which lists contact information, medical information such as chronic conditions, medications, with 24-hour toll-free live response hotline
- Program ICE into their cell phone – if don’t have one, get a simple one with a reasonable plan such as the one offered via CARP, with local contact information
- If a parent has dementia, register with the local Alzheimer’s society’s wandering registry’s Safe Home program with all personal and contact details
- Enroll your parents in a well-priced long-distance plan so they’ll actually call you without worrying about cost
When can these plans begin? Anytime from Labour Day onward, begin investigating options, being sure to include your parents in all decisions.
The smart adult children will set these things up well before they are urgently needed – like in a Toronto snowstorm!
Have a great winter season and be sure all of your family’s generations stay safe and warm!
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When winter comes what is your biggest concern regarding your parents safety? Share your thoughts in the Comments section below.