As temperatures dip and large snowstorms hit the east coast during this year’s winter, it’s important to remember to stay warm. This proves especially true for seniors, who are more susceptible to hypothermia, pneumonia and bronchitis.1 2 3 These conditions are thankfully avoidable if you take the necessary precautions. In this post, Staying Put at Home looks at how to keep you and your home warm during these cold winter months.
How to Stay Warm
- Bundle Up: Wrapping yourself in a blanket or wearing extra layers of clothing can help you keep your body temperature up. Just make sure that you can easily maneuver while in these extra layers, as you don’t want them to be a tripping hazard. It’s also worth noting that you lose most of your warmth through your head, so a cap can very effectively keep you warm.
- Keep Your Curtains Closed at Night: Making sure your window coverings are closed can help trap heat inside your home. If you live in a cold climate, then consider getting insulated curtains, which will help retain the heat in your home.
- Check Your Vents: If your vents are closed, then you might be blocking heat from entering your room. Furniture may also be blocking your vents, so check to see that your vents have no impediments.
- Close the Door: As with open curtains, heat often exits through open doors. Shut the door between each room to keep the temperature up.
- Cover Up Cracks and Caulk Leaks: We can’t reiterate enough how easy it is for heat to slip out of your home. Prevent outside drafts from flowing into your home by covering thresholds and repairing holes. Plugging up holes and leaks will make your home much warmer. Also consider covering your keyholes, as these often overlooked openings can let cold air seep in and allow heat to escape.
- Reverse Ceiling Fans: Many ceiling fans have a “winter” setting, which will make them run clockwise in reverse. Because heat rises, the clockwise-spinning fan will push heat back down into the room. All you need to do is flip the switch that comes standard on most ceiling fans.
- Cook: It might sound odd, but cooking will make your kitchen warmer, which will help ward off chilly temperatures. Just make sure you remember to turn off the oven or stove after use! Warm foods and drinks (like soup or tea) can also help keep your temperature up. With that said, remember to eat or drink them at a safe temperature. You don’t want to scald yourself.
Visit a Medical Professional if You Feel Under the Weather
If you feel sick or cold, do not hesitate to visit a doctor. A cold during a low temperature can quickly grow into something more serious. Make sure you regularly take your temperature during winter. If your body temperature falls below 96 degrees, then call for emergency help.
Energy Plans Can Help Save Money on Warming Your Home
Many state governments offer plans to help those with fixed incomes or low incomes save money on heating their homes. For example, California has the California Low Income Home Energy Assistance plan, which helps those with a low income offset the cost of heating their home. California electric companies, like Southern California Edison and PG&E, also offer discounts through the California Alternate Rates for Energy (CARE) and Family Electric Rate Assistance (FERA) programs. These programs provide assistance for those on Medicaid or Supplemental Security Income (SSI), as well as those who meet certain income requirements. To check whether your state offers any financial assistance for home heating, visit http://www.benefits.gov/benefits/browse-by-category/category/ENA.
We hope that these tips will help you stay toasty during this chilly winter. If you have any tips you would like to share with the Staying Put at Home community, please write in our comments section.