The air is growing cool and crisper. The days are getting shorter and shorter. As we adjust to the changes in autumn, it’s a good time to take action to ensure the safety and wellness of those adults who are aging in place. The following can help them – and you – prepare.
- The season for harvest. Healthy fruits and vegetables take center stage this time of year. Adding seasonal produce to diets promotes a healthy lifestyle.
- Schedule heating maintenance. Get heating systems serviced and inspected before regular use begins. If your senior’s home includes a fireplace, make sure the chimney is also serviced and inspected to prevent flue fires.
- Dial up! It’s the time to program the thermostat to account for the fluctuations in temperature.
- Look for leaves. Colorful leaves are part of autumn, but they can present a safety hazard. When wet, they can become slippery and pose a fall risk. And piles of leaves can hide potentially dangerous obstacles. Be sure to remove them regularly from porches, sidewalks and key walkways for older adults.
- Fall fashion. Layering is the name of the game throughout autumn. Be mindful of footwear, as well. Non-skid boots and shoes with plenty of traction can help prevent slips and falls in wet or frosty weather.
- Seasonal illness. Hand washing is one of the most effective ways to prevent the spread of fall illness. The CDC recommends washing hands with soap and clean, running water for 20 seconds. Wet, lather, scrub, rinse and dry. Older adults can also help boost immunity through good hydration, which can benefit the immune system during cold and flu season.
- Check detectors. Check smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. Change the batteries in these devices, and test them to make sure they’re in good working order.
- Prep for snow and ice. In cooler regions, it’s not unusual to get a preview of the cold, snowy and icy winter weather during the autumn months. Be sure to make shovels, car brushes and salt accessible in the event of an early storm.