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Winter Tips for Home and in the Community

A Checklist for Your Comfort and Safety
A home during the winter

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A Winter Checklist for Your Home

  • Fix cracks and holes around doors and windows.
  • Inspect your furnace and make sure the ducts and filters are clean.
  • Ensure that the fireplace flue (chimney) is open and get it cleaned if there is a lot of built up soot.
  • Clean out your gutters and rainspouts and check the roof for broken shingles or tiles.
  • Install or check the batteries in your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors.
  • Insulate exposed water pipes.
  • Prepare an emergency kit with: (1) candles, matches, flashlights and batteries; and (2) store extra water and canned foods in case the weather keeps you from going out.

Prevent Falls in Your Home This Winter

Be careful not to fall this winter. Here are some tips for you and the people you support to lower the chances of falling:

  • Make sure there is good lighting inside and outside of the home.
  • Secure loose carpet with double-sided tape.
  • Use nonskid area rugs and remove small throw rugs.
  • Clear walking areas of cords, wires, and other hazards. 
  • Keep the floors dry.
  • Sweep sidewalks and pathways.
  • Use nonskid rubber mats in bathtubs and showers.
  • Install grab bars next to the toilet and inside showers.

Be Careful in Slippery Weather

When walking outside or using a wheelchair during the winter, there are things you and the people you support can do to be safe:

  • When riding a bus:
    • Hold on to the rails.
    • Take extra time getting on and off of the bus.
  • When walking:
    • Take extra time to cross the street when the ground is wet or slippery.
    • Do not carry too many things, it makes it harder to walk.
    • Walk sideways if walking down a very steep hill.
  • When using a wheelchair:
    • Use inflatable tires instead of solid tires, they do not slip as much.
    • Sprinkle salt or cat liter on wheelchair ramps to keep them dry in icy weather.
    • Wear gloves to keep hands from slipping on metal.

Tips for Staying Healthy in the Winter

These tips can help you and the individuals you support stay healthy during the winter:

  • Get a flu shot as soon as possible.
  • Stay active and exercise.
  • Get 7-8 hours of sleep.
  • Wash your hands often.
  • Eat fruits and vegetables and drink plenty of water every day.
  • Wear layers of clothing to keep warm when it’s cold.
  • Wear a rain coat and waterproof shoes and carry an umbrella if it is raining.
  • If you or someone you support gets sick, stay home and call the advice nurse or see a doctor.

Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)

SAD is a type of depression that affects some people during the fall and winter, due to a lack of sunlight. SAD may cause people to:

  • Feel sad, grumpy, moody, or anxious
  • Lose interest in usual activities
  • Eat more and crave carbohydrates
  • Gain weight
  • Sleep more and feel drowsy during the daytime

Encourage the individuals you support who are experiencing SAD to:

  • Get as much fresh air and sunlight as possible.
  • Eat well-balanced meals – Do not forget proteins, fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.
  • Keep a normal sleep schedule.
  • Sit near the lights in your home - Open the window curtains, let the daylight come through when possible.

If someone you support has symptoms of SAD, talk to a doctor. A doctor can provide medicine or light therapy to help. See the Resource Links section for more information.

Last updated on Tue, 06/22/2010 - 16:59