How to Prepare a Senior’s Home for a Michigan Winter

How to Prepare a Senior’s Home for a Michigan Winter

As strikingly beautiful as they are, winters in Michigan can also be very difficult for residents. This is especially true of the state’s senior population, for whom the snow, ice, and brutal cold of a Great Lakes winter can be dangerous. Preparing a senior’s home for winter is key.

Tips to Prepare a Senior’s Home Before Winter

If you have a parent, grandparent, or other senior loved one who lives in Michigan, you’ll want to take every precaution you can to protect them for the frigid winter months ahead.

These guidelines can help ensure your senior loved ones enjoy the beauty of a Michigan winter without incident.

  1. Driveway. Have a plan in place to keep the driveway and walkways clear of ice and snow throughout the winter months. Include plans for frequent layers of salt for extra traction.
  2. Furnace. Hire a professional to test the furnace and make any necessary repairs for optimum heat and efficiency. Carbon monoxide poisoning is one danger that can be deadly if not detected and corrected. Make sure the furnace filter is also replaced.
  3. Space Heaters. If your older loved one uses space heaters during the winter, make sure they’re functioning properly and don’t pose a fire risk. Also, investigate to be certain they’re placed at least a few feet away from any materials that might catch fire. Read the manufacturer’s instructions if you haven’t already.
  4. Supplies. Purchase backup supplies of food, clean water, and other necessities. Depending on your older loved one’s living situation, this might include flashlights, blankets, batteries, extra doses of any medications, and an emergency cell phone. Don’t forget extra food for Fido if the senior has a pet!
  5. Vehicle. Make sure your senior family member’s vehicle is prepared for winter. This means checking the tires, brakes, fluids, and heater. Fall is also an ideal time for new windshield wipers and fresh anti-freeze. And investing in an auto club membership might be a good idea.
  6. Cover Drafts. Using plastic sealant on large windows and caulking drafty door frames can also help. You’ll simultaneously warm your senior loved one’s home and reduce their heating bill.
  7. Pipes. Last but certainly not least, make sure that the pipes are protected against freezing during the winter months. You can find detailed instructions on how to accomplish this right here.

With communities across the Great Lake state, Heritage is a leading provider of senior living in Michigan. Caregivers at our family-owned company have been welcoming Michigan seniors for four generations.

We hope you’ll contact us if you ever need more information or wish to arrange an inperson tour of one of our communities.



Halloween & Dementia: Keeping a Senior with Alzheimer’s Safe

Halloween & Dementia: Keeping a Senior with Alzheimer’s Safe

Halloween is a favorite time of year for many of us, young and old alike. The costumes, parties, and trick-or-treating are time-honored traditions enjoyed by people of all ages. But for someone who has Alzheimer’s disease, Halloween can be downright frightening.

Halloween can trigger anxiety and confusion in people who have Alzheimer’s disease.

If you are a caregiver for someone who has Alzheimer’s or another form of dementia, here are some ideas to help keep them safe this Halloween.

Tips for Keeping a Senior with Alzheimer’s Safe on Halloween

There’s always uncertainty about how someone with Alzheimer’s will react in new situations. Here’s what you can do to help them stay calm and comfortable during this spooky celebration.

1. Choose Decorations Wisely

Decorating your house with tombstones, cobwebs, bats, and ghosts might seem harmless, but they can cause anxiety for someone with dementia. That also extends to front yard decorations, especially if it is the entrance your loved one typically uses to enter the house. Instead, opt for pumpkins, mums and less threatening forms of decorations this year.

2. Decorate Sparingly

If you do decide to decorate, do so sparingly. A change in environment is tough for someone with memory impairment. Going overboard on Halloween decorating can change the look of your home. That may cause your loved one to become disoriented or confused.

3. Keep Nighttime Lights to a Minimum

Illuminated jack-o-lanterns, flashing lights, candles, and anything else that lights up the night can cause problems with visual perception. People with dementia often have perception problems already, and these types of lighting can exacerbate these issues.

4. Try a Less Invasive Way of Handing Out Candy

A constant stream of costumed strangers ringing the doorbell can cause anxiety and agitation for an older adult with memory impairment. People with dementia rely on a consistent sense of place and home in order to feel calm and comfortable. All those invaders begging for candy and screaming ‘trick or treat!!’ can be difficult to process.

Try putting the candy on your porch with a note for kids to help themselves. If you’re afraid they’ll help themselves a little too much, consider setting up shop on the porch while your loved one with dementia stays safely inside.

5. Be Mindful of Where You Place Decorations

Adults with dementia often develop vision problems, as well as difficulty with mobility. It puts them at greater risk for falls. As you are decorating for Halloween, think carefully about your loved one’s pathways and be sure to keep them clear.

Heritage Senior Communities in Michigan

Just like you, we want adults with dementia to enjoy every holiday and special occasion without sacrificing their sense of safety or their dignity. It’s at the core of what we do each day.

If you are looking for dementia care for a Michigan senior you love, we can help. Call the Heritage Senior Community nearest you to learn more!