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Thursday, September 12, 2024

‘Tis the Season for Safety: What to Look for When Visiting Aging Relatives

The holiday season is here, and if you’re like a lot of Americans, you’re going to be visiting loved ones. There are many ways to don that holiday spirit, but perhaps none are more important than helping make sure your loved ones have everything they need to get through the season. As Santa knows, the easiest way to do this is to make a list. Below are 12 things to look for when visiting your loved ones this holiday season:

  1. Expired prescriptions. It’s always a good idea to find out what medications your loved ones are taking. Check to make sure they haven’t expired and refill them if they have expired or if they’re low.
  2. Food. Having the fridge stocked, especially in inclement weather, will save a trip to the grocery store later. It is also a good idea to make sure there are canned goods and other non-perishable items in the house in case of an emergency. Look for expired food items to throw out as well.
  3. Bills. Check to see if there are any bills received that have gone unpaid or were misplaced.
  4. Furnace filters. It is important to check the furnace filters and replace them, if needed. There are easy how-to instructions on changing a furnace filter at
  5. Rickety stairs. If your parent or relative lives in a house with stairs, check for rickety boards or loose railings that may cause an accident.
  6. Light bulbs. It is a good idea to make sure light bulbs are changed or new.
  7. Gas leaks. If the house is equipped with a gas stove, check for leaks and make sure the pilot light is in working order.
  8. Drafts. Make sure windows can be closed tightly and look for any cracks in windowpanes.
  9. Water leaks. Investigate the house for signs of leakage from drains and pipes, especially around bathtubs and toilets and sinks.
  10. The fire extinguisher. Double-check that the house’s fire extinguisher is in working order in case of an emergency.
  11. Carbon Monoxide. Make sure the CO2 levels in the house are at acceptable levels, or have a specialist inspect them. Replace faulty carbon monoxide detectors.
  12. The car. Check the oil, wheels, and anti-freeze levels in the car to make sure there won’t be any problems in cold weather. Having the car winterized minimizes the risk of accidents.

You can’t fit this checklist into a catchy melody, but – unlike turtle doves and leaping lords – these twelve items will help prepare your loved ones not just for the winter, but for any season. Additionally, your visits with loved ones can give you a sense of whether independent living is still a safe and healthy situation; if not, it may be time to look into options such as home care or assisted living.

Have safe and happy holidays.

Dustin Monk

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