Depending on where you and your older parents live, the first touches of fall are likely happening: heavy rainfall, brisk temperatures, brilliantly hued leaves or snow dustings. Whether your parents are traveling to warmer areas or staying to enjoy the season, it’s important to ready their home against the elements.
Seal Drafty Windows: Ill-fitting and poorly insulated windows are a money- and energy-drain For a quick fix, use weather stripping, rope caulk or a draft stopper/door snake to keep the heat inside and the cold or rain outside until your parents can install replacement windows. Not into the DIY? Hire a home repair company, such as Mr. Handyman.
Clean Cupboards and the Refrigerator: Summertime usually means parties, and parties usually mean food. If you notice an overabundance of snacks for the grandkids when they had summer sleepovers or hot dogs that never made it to the Fourth of July barbeque, you’ll need to help your parents take stock. Throw out old food and donate the excess to shelters in your area. Take the time to wipe down shelves and sweep up crumbs to deter insects from making your parents’ home their home too.
Inspect Downspouts, Gutters and the Roof: Fall foliage can be a problem because it can plug gutters and stop water from flowing freely through downspouts. Rain, snow, ice and strong winds can damage roof shingles, gutters, etc. as well. Before the weather turns ugly, check the attic for signs of leaks and actual holes. As you clean up gutters during the season, tighten any loose screws. You may want to invest in leaf/gutter guards. If snowfall is heavy where your parents live, consider installing snow guards, which prevent snow from avalanching from roofs and falling on unsuspecting people below.
Fine-Tune the Furnace: All furnaces must have their air filter cleaned to function and heat up properly. Most likely, you will replace it with another disposable furnace filter. Some filters are permanent, so follow the manufacturer’s instructions on cleaning. You can also hire a professional to clean and adjust your parents’ furnace; they will also test for carbon monoxide.
Get Ready for Emergencies: Storms are unfortunate side effects of autumn. Make sure your parents have supplies: water, flashlights, their medications, first aid kit, etc. in case they lose power, have to evacuate their home or are snowed in. If they have a cache of goods already, make sure everything is fresh and ready to use.
While preparing your parents’ home for cooler weather, have you noticed a lack of general home upkeep? Are your parents having trouble with chores such as vacuuming or doing laundry? It may be time to talk about home care or adding light housekeeping to their existing service plan. To have a successful discussion and prevent hurt feelings, download our e-book, Important Things to Discuss With Your Aging Loved One. Our seven-page booklet gives tips on approaching conversations about sensitive topics: home care services, driving, etc.