Happy Autumn! This third season of the year is known as the “season of change.” The weather is growing cooler, the days shorter and the air crisper. As we adjust to the changes of autumn, it’s an ideal time to take action to ensure the safety and wellness of older adults who are aging in place. The following checklist will help you prepare yourself – and them – for the season.
- Schedule pre-winter heating maintenance. Before you crank up the heat, schedule regular maintenance for heating systems to confirm they’re in good working order. If your loved one’s home includes a fireplace, be sure to also have chimneys inspected and cleaned to prevent dangers like flue fires.
- Control the internal temperature. Now is the time to adjust automatic thermostats to account for the season’s fluctuations in temperature.
- Get ready for fall fashion. Don’t put the lighter clothing in moth balls just yet, but be sure to have sweaters and jackets at the ready. 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.
- Prepare for ice and snow.
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.
- Ward off seasonal illnesses.* The frequency and severity of sicknesses escalates as the year comes to a close. Hand washing is one of the most effective ways to prevent the spread of fall illness. The Centers for Disease Control 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.
- Take advantage of the harvest. Many healthy – and delicious – fruits and vegetables are center stage this time of year. Adding seasonal produce such as beets, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, sweet potato, pumpkin, apples, cranberries, eggplant and kale can help manage diabetes, contribute to heart health and promote a healthy immune system.
- Beware of falling leaves. While colorful leaves are part of the beauty of autumn in many regions, 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.
- Be sure you can detect danger. Fall is one of the critical times of the year for checking smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. Change the batteries in these devices, and test them to make sure they’re in good working order.
Want to learn more? Use these links for additional fall safety and wellness tips:
- The National Safety Council
- The Centers for Disease Control
- The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association
Let FirstLight Help
FirstLight Personal Care Services can help your loved one adjust to this fall season of change. If you have questions about fall safety and wellness for older adults, use our Just Ask FirstLight service to connect to an expert today.
* Check out the FirstLight Blog next week for information about fall vaccinations for older adults.