Dear Donna:

My husband and I will be visiting my parents in Saginaw, Michigan next month. We only live a few hours away but our work hours and kids school activities make it difficult for us to make the trip as often as we would like.

I know the time is getting close for us to talk with my parents about moving to a senior living community. But we are trying to hold off on making that decision until next spring.

Because my Dad is struggling to keep up with some of the seasonal tasks he’s always used to perform, my husband and I are going to try to get some things done around the house for them.

We want to make sure we don’t forget anything that should be done to winterize their house. Do you have a list of suggestions we can use?



Preparing a Senior for Winter in Michigan

Dear Sierra:

Early fall is a great time to start preparing a senior’s loved one’s home for the often brutal Michigan winters. Storms can blow up quickly in the Great Lake State so it’s good to be ready.

Here are a few tips to help:

  • Have the furnace inspected:  From carbon monoxide to fires, problems with the furnace can be deadly. It’s why you should engage the services of a heating professional to inspect the furnace before your parents use it for the first time. Maybe you can schedule the appointment for one of the days you will be visiting so you can make sure everything goes well.
  • Check the alarms: Every home should have a working smoke detector on each level of the house and a carbon monoxide detector. Test these during your visit to see if the batteries are dead or if the unit itself needs to be replaced.
  • Inspect doors and windows: Take time to look for places around windows and doors where warm air is escaping and cold air might be able to creep in. Identify any potential spots where weather stripping or caulk might need to be replaced before the cold winds blow.
  • Turn off outdoor water sources: Don’t overlook turning off the water to outdoor spigots and draining hoses. This helps prevent pipes from bursting and causing a real mess for your parents.
  • Winterize the car: If your parents are still driving, also make sure their car is ready for winter. Are windshield wiper blades in good shape? Do tires need to be replaced? Is an ice scraper in the car? Are their fluids full? Also help your parents to pack a supply bag to keep in the car in case of an emergency.

Our final tip is to sit down with your parents to make sure they have a plan in place to keep their sidewalks and driveway free from snow and ice. If they need help finding a reputable company or need assistance paying for it, check with their local Michigan Agency on Aging. They may have resources available.

I hope this information is helpful, Sierra! Good luck getting your parents ready for winter.

Best Regards,