Guest post by Jane Garbutt.
If this winter is anything like the cold wave North America experienced last winter, then the need to keep seniors’ homes warm and safe this season is critical. In some parts of the country, temperatures were up to 20 degrees colder than average for the time of year. Technology is increasingly being used as a tool to heat seniors’ homes as the ageing population embrace more and more gadgets. Pew Research states that 4 in 10 seniors now own a smartphone and one-third own a tablet. But, how can technology be used to safeguard seniors from an emergency this winter?
Multiple heating aids
Older people tend to feel the cold a lot more. The National Institute on Ageing advises that body temperature of 95°F (35°C) or less can result in serious health implications such as kidney or liver problems. So, it’s essential that the right temperature is maintained within the home to sustain comfortable body temperature. Battery operated heating aids and devices are ideal at targeting specific areas, such as hands, which can be cold spots for seniors due to circulation decreasing with age. Some hand warmers even come with a flashlight built into them which can also be helpful in preventing falls when the night draws in.
Good insulation within the home is the key to retaining heat and cutting heating bills. Last year, the cost of heating oil increased by 17% compared to the previous year, pushing the cost of heating up by an average of almost $100, according to CNN. This price increase can put senior safety at risk as many will choose to forgo heating to save cash. To keep your ageing loved one safe and warm in their home this winter, ensure the roof and all walls have high-quality insulation packed within them.
Utilize smart home technology
As individuals age, mobility tends to decline and this can make even the simplest of tasks, such as getting out of a chair, difficult. By making the most of smart home technology, you can be sure that your loved one is safe and comfortable all winter long. Smart thermostats allow seniors to control the temperature of their homes wherever they are using a WI-FI enabled device. Smart zoned heating may also be beneficial for seniors who live alone as it allows them to heat specific areas of their home only, which also saves money!
Keep hot drinks warm
It’s important that seniors stay hydrated during the winter months and a hot drink is a perfect way to keep them warm at the same time. Ageing individuals are at increased risk of dehydration as their bodies conserve less water than younger people, and ensuring they’ve always got a warm drink available is a huge help. Fill up a flask full of boiling water at the start of the day to reduce the number of times they need to boil the kettle throughout the day and make it easier for them to prepare a hot drink. Temperature control mugs keep drinks at the ideal drinking temperature for as long as needed and mean seniors always have a warm drink to hand.
Underfloor heating is a cost-effective way of heating a senior’s home because they consume less energy, yet still, provide a warm and toasty home. According to RESNet, underfloor heating systems are typically 15% more effective at transmitting heat than radiators, which is good news for seniors who worry about their heating costs. Another benefit is that they don’t blow dust particles around the room, like baseboard heaters can, and won’t impact respiratory conditions such as asthma, which affects 9% of America’s seniors.
With winter on its way, seniors need extra help to safeguard them from the cold in their homes, so make the most of multiple heating aids and sufficient insulation, as well as smart home technology, hot drinks, and underfloor heating.
And don’t forget that emergency preparedness for seniors is key too! If you have older family members in your life, whether in your home or living nearby, there are a few extra special steps you can take to keep them safe and prepared for any emergency this winter.
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